It's official. Yesterday's M/V Blind Date explosion was a hoax. Since rescues like that cost about $300 per hour, U.S. Coast Guard officials are righteously pissed and have offered a $3,000 reward for information leading to the capture of whoever made the phony call.
We're glad that the Coast Guard is a better-safe-than-sorry kind of agency, but the distress call that claimed M/V Blind Date had exploded offshore from Sandy Hook, N.J., injuring nine of its 21 supposedly stranded passengers, cost real taxpayer money. The ruse had Coast Guard Cutters and NYPD choppers circling around a wreck that didn't exist for hours, wasting time, fuel and funding. All in all, more than 200 first responders showed up at sea and at various shore locations (hear the call here).
Crying wolf to the Coast Guard is a federal felony that could land the caller in prison for five to 10 years and incur a $250,000 fine, plus reimbursement to the Coast Guard for the cost of the search. Last year, the Coast Guard and other rescue agencies in the New York City region responded to more than 60 fake calls.
Who does that? These people are actually here for our protection.
Photo credit: Associated Press