TTwo Rhode Island men who set off flares from a boat to celebrate a friend’s wedding were fined $ 10,000 for triggering an unnecessary Coast Guard search and rescue operation .
Officials wanted the couple to cover the more than $ 100,000 of the 1.5-hour search that included two helicopters and a surface vessel. However, the Rhode Island Division of the federal Department of Justice will dismiss the civil lawsuit against Perry C. Phillips, 31, and Benjamin C. Foster, 33, after each paying a fine of $ 5,000.
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Phillips and Foster took a dinghy in the waters near a wedding reception on Block Island on the evening of June 6, 2020. At around 9:30 p.m., the couple fired three flares and then returned to shore, unaware that the Flares had been reported to the harbor master, who in turn alerted the coast guard. The couple posted videos of the incident on social media.
“According to commonly accepted maritime custom and practice, the triggering of flares of the color and type […] are understood to indicate that a ship or its crew is in distress or in need of assistance, ”the complaint said.
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“At least one of the two knew at the time that the flares were a maritime distress signal, and both understood that it was inappropriate to use them as they did,” said a statement from the Rhode Island District of the United States Attorney’s Office.
It is a federal offense to falsely trigger a distress signal and call emergency services when no help is needed.
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Key words: News, Rhode Island, Coast Guard, DOJ
Original author: Virginie abram
Original location: Rhode Island wedding boaters fined $ 10,000 for firing distress flair and summoning helicopters