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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A man who made a fake “mayday” call to the Coast Guard last year is heading to prison.

A federal judge today sentenced Homer Lewis Blackburn of Atlantic Beach to 18 months in prison. He will also have to pay $288,390.80 to cover the cost of the Oct. 8, 2013, hoax.

“False distress calls limit the Coast Guard’s ability to respond to actual emergencies,” Capt. Sean Murtagh, commander of USCG Sector North Carolina, said in a news release. “Ultimately, they penalize the local communities and mariners the Coast Guard is charged to protect by unnecessarily endangering the lives of responders and wasting hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars.”

In May Blackburn pleaded guilty to the fake distress call made from a CB in his apartment claiming he was sinking and abandoning ship near Cape Lookout.

The Coast Guard, Marine Corps, National Park Service and a salvage company responded with boats and helicopters.

A witness told investigators Blackburn went out on his balcony to watch the helicopters search Cape Lookout. She told them when the hoax made news, Blackburn sent her a text asking her not to tell anyone about the call. Another witness said Blackburn bragged about the hoax.

Comment on this Story

  • Double Bass

    This dork deserves the jail time more so than the fine. I however seem to think the fee of over a quarter million dollars is a little steep for one search operation.

  • guesty

    3 government groups and one private business responded to his fake call. They used people who were on the clock getting paid, using equipment that costs money to operate and maintain. Boats and helicopters don’t come cheap, nor just the fuel to operate them for however long they searched.

  • Lawls

    Turns out in the end this was kind of funny. What a dumb thing to do!

  • RickC

    This drunken clown will never make that much on his own in this lifetime(His facebook page will tell you that). Better off to put him scraping and painting CG Cutter hulls for the next 10 years.

  • yeah, i’m pretty sure he will pay the fine, haha, i hope they don’t hold their breath and wait for the check to come…how stupid that folks get fined all the time and never pay a cent and get away with it!

  • Guest2020

    They will set up a payment plan based on his income. His restitution payments will be a condition of his probation and if he does not make his payments, they will violate him and put him behind bars. He won’t get away with not paying.

  • JOSH

    not only that, but all those people that responded put their lives in danger too! and for nothing…bc someone was bored one night

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