MOBILE, Ala. (AP) -- The U.S. Coast Guard says recent fake distress calls to its station in Mobile are wasting time, resources and taxpayer money.
Coast Guard officials are asking for the public's help for information that helps identify the callers. They say Coast Guard boats and aircraft in the Mobile area have been dispatched on bogus calls four times over the past six weeks.
Officials say the last false call came Friday morning, when someone reported a ship on fire south of Horn Island and four people in the water. The Coast Guard sent a boat, a helicopter and a jet in response and found there was no boat in trouble.
Coast Guard Commander Eric King says the calls distract first responders when they may be needed for real emergencies.