Who Transmitted Fake S.O.S. Calls About Being Stuck in Maine Waters?
The Coast Guard is trying to locate whoever sent false SOS messages on an emergency channel.
The two messages were sent Wednesday and Thursday on Channel 16, a channel for international hailing and distress messages only. Both sound like they were made by a young boy.
In the first call, received at 3:51 p.m. the caller said his speed boat, the Excaliber, ran out of gas in the middle of Portland, Maine, and asked for a ski boat to be sent. The call ended with "S.O.S", according to audio posted by the Coast Guard.
The largest bodies of water within Portland are the Back Cove along Interstate 295 and the Fore River.
In the the second call, 24 hours later, the same voice said he was stuck in a 25-foot speedboat "in the middle of Maine." He ended that call with "S.O.S." and said it again in two quick subsequent callouts.
The Coast Guard said the first call originated from a Coast Guard remote operated VHF radio tower in Charlotte, Vermont. Using direction-finding capability, it appears the caller is in the vicinity of Burlington, Vermont, along the eastern shore of Lake Champlain.
Information about the second call or if a rescue was attempted in either case was not disclosed by the Coast Guard.
Knowingly transmitting a false distress call can lead to criminal and civil penalties punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 and ten years in prison.
The Coast Guard asked anyone with information to help identity the callers to call the Sector Northern New England Command Center at (833) 449-2407.