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Mayday channel blocked for hours

SEPT. 28 — Boaters off the northeast coast of England on Sept. 22 were surprised to hear an erotic film being broadcast over VHF emergency channel 16.

The crew of the fishing vessel Oceania accidentally switched on the boat’s VHF while watching “Crash,” a 1996 film about people who gain sexual gratification from car crashes, the BBC reports. The transmission reportedly blocked mayday radio transmissions over a 30-mile radius for hours.

British Coast Guard authorities contacted the television station broadcasting the film, asking it to display an urgent message to the boaters, the news report says. A Coast Guard lifeboat crew reached the boaters before the message was broadcast.

Oceania skipper George Mair told the BBC he had inadvertently pushed a clock radio into the VHF, holding down the transmit button. He said that the film was on in the background while he was busy working on the boat.

A British Coast Guard spokesperson said the incident happened at night when sea conditions were relatively calm, the report says. Mair apologized for the mistake.

Jason Fell