TAMPA (WFLA) – The Coast Guard says someone has been making threats and hoax calls on a marine band radio about a “nuclear attack” off Florida’s gulf coast.
The St. Petersburg command center received the latest threat via VHF channel 22A on Aug. 13.
Investigators say the man threatened Coast Guard personnel, aircraft and vessels. The broadcast sounds like the same person who has made other radio broadcasts that start with MAYDAY three times and then talks about, “scrambling all jets we are under nuclear attack.”
“Hoax calls are costly to the taxpayer and our service,” said Charles ‘Marty’ Russell, resident agent-in-charge of the Coast Guard Investigative Service office in St. Petersburg. “When the Coast Guard receives a distress call, we immediately respond, putting our crews at risk, and risking the lives of boaters who may legitimately need our help.”
Penalties for making false distress calls and hoaxes can include up to 10 years in prison, $250,000 in fines, plus the cost of the search.
If anyone has information on who is making these threats please contact the Coast Guard Investigative Service St. Petersburg at 727- 535-1437 extension 2308.