Huffpost New York

Yacht Explosion Hoax: Coast Guard Investigating Possible Link To Texas False Distress Call

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Fishy similarities between a false distress call off the coast of Galveston, Texas, in May and last week's Sandy Hook, N.J., yacht explosion hoax that cost taxpayers $300,000 have the Coast Guard investigating possible links between the two.

Neither call involved an actual disaster but did require extensive rescue efforts, costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Making false distress calls is a federal felony and comes with a maximum sentence of 6 years in prison and a 250,000 fine, on top of reimbursement for the cost of the search.

"The voice was similar and had similar mannerisms of speaking," Captain Gregory Hitchen, deputy commander of the Coast Guard's New York region, told The Detroit News.

He also said that both callers identified themselves as captain, referred to people as "souls," and said "taking on water" instead of "sinking."

A $3,000 reward offered for any information leading to the arrest of someone involved in last week's New Jersey distress call still stands.

"These cases are very difficult to solve without help from the public," Hitchen said.

NBC Philadelphia reports the Galveston caller referred to his boat as "fishing vessel Scallywag."

"We're about two miles from the channel ... We have an on-board emergency. We are taking on water, sir," the man reportedly said.

The New Jersey man called his boat Blind Date.

"We've had an explosion on board, that's why we're taking on water," described a calm voice.

"We have 21 souls on board, 20 in the water right now. I have three deceased on board, nine injured because of the explosion we've had," he added.

According to NBC Philadelphia, Hitchen said that the Texas call was previously classified as an "unresolved distress call."

The Associated Press reports that 60 suspected hoax calls last year in the New York area alone went unresolved.

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