Streams

Coast Guard Says NJ Hoax May Be Linked to Texas Mayday Call

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

There may be a link between a hoax distress call reporting a yacht explosion off the New Jersey coast and a call in Texas last month, officials said Wednesday.

Coast Guard Capt. Gregory Hitchen said authorities are investigating a possible link after noticing similarities in the caller's voice and phrasings.

The hoax emergency call from the yacht came in around 4:20 p.m. June 11. The caller claimed there were three dead, nine injured and 20 in the water off Sandy Hook, N.J.

Nothing was found, and authorities later determined the hoax call came from land.

The Coast Guard last month searched for six people reported missing after a mayday call saying they were abandoning their sinking fishing boat in the waters off Galveston, Texas.

The hoax cost the state $318,000 for use of Coast Guard boats, aircraft, fuel, man hours, maintenance and support of the aircraft.

"This case was unusual because of the level of detail that is provided as well as the number of people that were involved," coast guard officer Jason Moritz told WNYC last week.

The mission involved not only the Coast Guard, but also local police and fire departments. The NYPD also helped out, sending three helicopters and give harbor boats to help with the search. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly described the hoax as a “terrible” waste of resources, but said it was difficult to put a price tag on it.

With the Associated Press

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