Hoax calls bedevil Coast Guard in Washington

SEATTLE — The Coast Guard is asking the public to help identify whoever made hoax calls that cost the service hundreds of thousands of dollars in wasted resources searching Washington’s Hood Canal for a sinking fishing vessel that wasn’t there.

Hours of searching the nights of May 31 and June 1 involved helicopters and boats and cost more than $200,000 in fuel, aircraft maintenance and other expenses. Sheriff’s and tribal boats also searched.

Petty Officer David Mosley in Astoria, Oregon, says a man contacted the Coast Guard by radio both nights. The first night he said a fishing boat was sinking with five people on board. The next night he said a boat was sinking with two adults and a child.

A man with the same-sounding voice radioed a third time June 2 and falsely said a body had been found near Seabeck.

Mosley said Thursday the Coast Guard hasn’t received any tips yet.

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