Sandy Hook Boat Hoax Connected To Phony Distress Call In Texas?
The Coast Guard is investigating a similar hoax in Houston Texas they believe could be related to last week's hoax call of the Blind Date yacht off Sandy Hook.
The USCG held a press conference in Manhattan today to announce there have been numerous similarities pointed out between June 11th hoax involving a yacht calling itself the Blind Date claiming to be sinking off the coast of Sandy Hook and a garbled hoax call reported May 20th off the coast of Galveston, Texas calling themselves either the Scallywag or Skylark.
Coast Guard officials didn't originally connect the two incidents until a reporter in the Houston area contacted the Northeast offices after seeing a press release regarding the Blind Date Hoax. The case in the Houston/Galveston area wasn't considered a hoax initially, but listed as an "unresolved distress call".
However United States Coast Guard Captain Gregory P. Hitchens says once commanders from both locations were able to talk they were able to put the similarities together.
Hitchens says the calls both came to the Coast Guard's Vessel Traffic Service rather than their search and rescue channel. Something Hitchens says "is interesting because it's not a typically pattern for a distress call."
Additionally Captain Hitchens points out the person making the call in both cases used terms like "taking on water" instead of "sinking", "soul" instead of "people on board", in both cases the caller said their electronic array or antennae were down as an explanation to why he couldn't give an exact position, and instead gave a positing using tenths of a mile; which Hitchens says is "unique for someone in distress like that."
The coincidences don't end there; Hitchens notes "in both cases the individual stated that his passengers were getting into orange life rafts, specifying the color. And in both cases the individual was using the term beacon to describe the hand held signaling device."
Capping it off with the fact the voice was similar and had similar mannerisms of speaking.
Hitchens reminds there is a three thousand dollar reward for information leading to the arrest of the hoax's perpetrator, and anyone with information should call 212-668-7048 or 646-872-5774.
He notes the seriousness of the cases is evident, especially since they cost the taxpayers thousands of dollars.
"More importantly, when we respond to these hoax cases, we divert assets from what could be an actual emergency."
In the last calendar year, the northeast area saw sixty hoax calls.