Hoax distress calls continue to plague the U.S. Coast Guard in Eastern Carolina. For more than a year, the Coast Guard has received numerous calls that appear to be a hoax. The most recent was yesterday.
The Coast Guard says the calls are coming the Wilmington, New River, Onslow Bay and surrounding areas. They say while some of the calls appear to have come from the same caller, the Coast Guard says more than one person may be responsible.
A false distress call is a federal crime. Violators are subject to a fine of up to $250,000 and up to six years in prison. The caller might also have to reimburse the Coast Guard for the cost of the searches.