Coast Guard, Crime Stoppers offer reward to help find origin of false distress calls in Lake Erie

CLEVELAND - The Coast Guard and Crime Stoppers are offering a $3,500 reward for information leading to the identification and conviction of the person responsible for communicating a series of false distress calls in Lake Erie.

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 COast Guard says 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:

Oct. 24, 2010
Nov. 1, 2010
Nov. 23, 2010
Nov. 25, 2010
Dec. 4, 2010
Oct. 24, 2010
Nov. 1, 2010
Nov. 25, 2010
Nov. 26, 2010
Dec. 4, 2010
Oct. 29, 2010
Nov. 6, 2010
Nov. 25, 2010
Dec. 2, 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 in a news release. "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 the false distress calls can contact the U.S. Coast Guard at 313-568-9560 or Crime Stoppers of Michigan at 1-800-SPEAKUP.

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