Los Angeles

US Coast Guard Says Someone is Making Prank Distress Calls

Officials believe the caller came from the Lynwood area.

What to Know

  • Anyone with any information about the false distress calls is urged to contact the Sector LA-LB command center at (310) 521-3801.
  • "The Coast Guard treats every distress call like a real emergency," the USCG said.
  • A false call is considered a felony under federal law and punishable by up to six years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and more.

The U.S. Coast Guard Thursday sought public help to identify a person who may be in the Lynwood area and has made several suspected false distress calls to the Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach command center since late December.

"The caller transmits Digital Selective Calling distress alerts repeatedly through VHF-FM radio transmissions and is believed to be located in the vicinity of Lynwood," according to the Coast Guard.

"Shortly after transmitting false alerts through DSC, it's believed the caller would transmit over the radio," Coast Guard officials said.

Digital Selective Calling allows mariners to instantly send an automatically formatted distress alert to the Coast Guard through VHF-FM radio.

"The Coast Guard treats every distress call like a real emergency," said USCG Capt. Monica Rochester, the Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach commander.

"Knowingly and willfully communicating false distress calls over VHF-FM Channel 16 is illegal, irresponsible and punishable by state and federal law."

Rochester said such a false call is considered a felony under federal law and punishable by up to six years in prison, a $250,000 fine, a $10,000 civil penalty and reimbursement to agencies for all costs incurred in responding to the false distress message.

Anyone with any information about the false distress calls was urged to contact the Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach command center at (310) 521-3801.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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