Coast Guard seeks help identifying distress caller

By Dawn Gagnon, BDN Staff
Posted Sept. 21, 2009, at 9:57 p.m.

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — The U.S. Coast Guard issued an alert Monday night seeking the public’s assistance in determining the identity of the person who placed a radio distress call near Penobscot Bay, about a mile off the coast of Maine.

Coast Guard Sector Northern New England received a radio distress call about 4:15 p.m. Monday from a man claiming to be aboard a boat that had run out of gas between Camden and Lincolnville.

Click here to listen to the distress call.

Though the Coast Guard station in Rockland launched a 25-foot boat and crew to the area to search for the boater, no signs of distress were found in the area.

The Maine Marine Patrol, Penobscot Island Ferries and numerous good Samaritans in the area also helped with the search and found nothing.

As of late Monday evening, there still was no sign of a distressed boater, said Chris Berry, a civilian search and rescue coordinator with Sector Northern New England.

“We’ve had to stop looking,” he said, adding that searchers didn’t have much information to go on. “We don’t know if it was a hoax, or if a boater received assistance and kept going,” he said. “It’s kind of a mystery.”

On Aug. 2, the Coast Guard received a similar distress call from the same area. As was the case Monday, rescue crews were unable to find any signs of a boater in trouble.

“Our goal is to locate the person making the calls in order to verify if someone is truly in need of assistance from the Coast Guard,” said Chief Petty Officer Christopher Wheeler, command duty officer in charge of the case at Sector Northern New England.

Anyone with information that can help authorities identify the caller is encouraged to call the Sector Northern New England command center at 767-0303.

http://bangordailynews.com/2009/09/21/news/coast-guard-seeks-help-identifying-distress-caller/ printed on September 19, 2014