Hoax call could be linked to earlier prank

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The Coast Guard said Wednesday that the June 11 hoax distress call made by a man claiming to be the captain of a yacht that exploded off the coast of Sandy Hook, N.J., was linked to another hoax call made May 20 in Texas.

Authorities note that both callers used the same terminology and included nonstandard nautical phrases, such as "taking on water," instead of "sinking." The callers used "souls" to describe the people on board and "beacon" to describe a supposed automatic signaling device on life rafts.

In both cases, the callers specifically contacted a Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service and said their GPS systems weren't working. In most distress cases, callers ask for the general Coast Guard or dial into a known emergency frequency, officials said.

"I've been here since 2007, and this is the biggest hoax in regard to the number of helicopters and folks who had actually responded to the scene," Capt. Gregory Hitchen said the day after the incident.

Click here for a report by ABC News, and click here for the official Coast Guard announcement, with links to the audio recording of the New Jersey and Texas mayday calls.


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