U.S. Coast Guard officials are saying that there may be a connection between last week's fake Jersey Shore maritime distress call and a similar hoax call they received in Galveston, Texas last month.
New York City's Coast Guard unit had received a distress call on June 11 alleging that the Motor Yacht Blind Date had exploded and sunk, leaving 21 passengers stranded 17 miles east of the New Jersey Coast. The supposed victims never materialized after five and a half hours of boat and helicopter patrols in the area.
The Texas incident involved a fishing boat with a crew of six in trouble as the boat reportedly began to sink on May 24. A costly two-day search didn't yield so much as a trace of a boat or crew in the rough location in which authorities expected to find them.
They're not positive yet, but a Coast Guard spokesman said that the voices of both callers had similar voices and speech mannerisms, and that they used a few of the same key words to describe things. For example in both cases, they said the life raft was orange, they called the handheld signaling device a beacon, and they told the Coast Guard that they couldn't give an exact position because the boat's antenna array had been knocked down.
Individually, they sound like reasonable things to have had happen, but together, they formed a brick of dubious information.
Rescues costs quite a bit of money, so the government still seeks help finding these maritime wolf-criers. They're offering a $3,000 reward for information leading to the capture of the phony distress victims.
Photo credit: Associated Press