coast guard helicopter
Coast Guard operations are inherently dangerous and servicemembers face risks every time they launch a search-and-rescue mission. Photo courtesy Department of Defense

At least eight false Mayday calls since the start of the year have the U.S. Coast Guard’s Los Angeles/Long Beach command center concerned, and the public’s help was sought Thursday to find the man who’s been making them.

The false distress calls date back to Jan. 3, according to the Coast Guard, which reports that the male caller communicates “Mayday” repeatedly through VHF-FM radio transmissions.

“Coast Guard operations are inherently dangerous and our servicemembers face risks every time we launch for a search-and-rescue mission,” said Coast Guard Capt. Charlene Downey, the commander of the Los Angeles/Long Beach sector.

Willfully communicating a false distress message to the Coast Guard is a federal crime, punishable by up to six years in prison, a $250,000 fine, a $10,000 civil penalty and reimbursement to all the agencies for the costs incurred in responding to the false distress message, Downey said.

“The Coast Guard aims to promote safety and effectively manage our resources,” Downey said. “The risks posed by false distress calls must be stemmed and we ask anyone with information that may lead to the location of this person to contact us.”

Tipsters should call the Coast Guard at (310) 521-3801.

–City News Service

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