Are Galveston, New Jersey Coast Guard hoaxes connected?

HOUSTON - The United States Coast Guard is looking into two hoax calls that cost taxpayers a lot of money.

Last month, the Coast Guard responded to a mayday call in the Gulf of Mexico.

"This is the fishing vessel Scallywag," the purported captain of the boat said. "We're probably about two miles from the channel. We have an on-board emergency. We are taking on water, sir."

The caller did not give officials an exact location as to where the boat was.

"Shoot our electronics are down I couldn't give you an exact location. Stand by," the caller said.

Coast Guard officials rallied resources, believing there was a sinking boat and survivors in the water. No sign of the boat was ever found and there were no reports of any missing fisherman or boast being overdue to put into port.

On Monday, Coast Guard officials in New Jersey got a call that a yacht off the coast had exploded. The person who called for help said there were deaths and burned survivors treading water in the cold Atlantic.

"We have three deceased, nine injured," the person who made the call said. "We've had an explosion on board that's why we're taking on water."

The caller said he could not give an exact location.

"Electronic array is down, I'm on a solar powered radio right now," the caller said.

Coast Guard officials scrambled boats, helicopters and ambulances.

The call turned out to be a hoax. Officials said they think someone using a cellphone on land made the call.

Both calls involved vessels taking on water and the ships' electronics and navigational being down so the person calling for help couldn't give searchers their exact location.

KPRC Local 2 Investigates asked Coast Guard officials about the similarities with these cases, both in circumstance and the voice on the other end of those distress calls.

"We really appreciate your call and our investigative services is now evaluating whether there is a connection," a representative said. "We have not made a determination yet but we are checking into whether there is a link."

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