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9th District Great Lakes Public Affairs
U.S. Coast Guard

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News Release

January 31, 2013

Ninth Coast Guard District

Contact: U.S. Coast Guard Great Lakes


Office: (216) 902-6020

Mobile: (216) 310-2608

Coast Guard Investigative Service, Crime Stoppers of Michigan offer reward for help with finding origin of false distress calls in Lake Erie

Authorities release more audio samples of false distress calls

Crime stoppers wanted poster
Click the above thumbnail to download a PDF of the Crime Stoppers of Michigan wanted poster.  Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward and the Coast Guard is offering $2,500 for information leading to conviction.

CLEVELAND — The Coast Guard Investigative Service and Crime Stoppers of Michigan announce that they are offering a reward of up to $3,500 for information leading to the identification and conviction of the person or persons responsible for communicating a series of false distress calls to the Coast Guard.

The series of false distress or "mayday" calls have been transmitted over marine band radio, VHF-FM Channel 16, the international hailing and distress frequency, since 2010.

The calls, which feature a person or persons claiming to be in distress on a plane or boat in Lake Erie, are believed to have originated from the Bolles Harbor region south of Monroe, Mich.

The agencies are releasing audio recordings of some of the radio distress calls.  Authorities hope someone will recognize the voice on the audio clips.

Click the below links to play the audio samples, in .MP3 format:

Oct. 24, 2010 Oct. 24, 2010 Oct. 29, 2010
Nov. 1, 2010 Nov. 1, 2010 Nov. 6, 2010
Nov. 23, 2010 Nov. 25, 2010 Nov. 25, 2010
Nov. 25, 2010 Nov. 26, 2010 Dec. 2, 2010
Dec. 4, 2010 Dec. 4, 2010 Dec. 7, 2010




"Anyone who carries out false distress calls is endangering everyone on the water — both the emergency responders who commence searching and the entire maritime community," said Lt. Justin Westmiller, chief of the Coast Guard Sector Detroit Command Center.

"When rescuers are diverted on false alarms, it may impair their ability to respond to mariners who are actually in distress."

Anyone with information concerning these false distress calls are urged to contact the U.S. Coast Guard at 313-568-9560 or Crime Stoppers of Michigan at 1-800-SPEAKUP.

For more information, contact Lt. Justin Westmiller at 313-701-6016.

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