ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - The Coast Guard Command in Tampa Bay says someone is making threats through VHF radio transmissions. Investigators hope some recognizes the man's voice.
"Attention all Coast Guard stations, I say again, attention all Coast Guard stations," the man can be heard saying. "The next time you scramble any aircraft off any aircraft carrier we're going to bomb your [expletive] jets, do you understand me?"
The man goes on, saying, "The next time I see one of your planes in the air, I'm gonna shoot that plane down and kill the pilot and the passengers."
The VHF radio transmission came in on Aug. 13 to the Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg Command Center.
The call has the Coast Guard on high alert.
"The call is a little bit disturbing for Coast Guard members," said USCG Petty Officer First Class, Ayla Kelley. "The person specifically says that they're going to attack our vessels and attack our planes."
Officials think the same man may have also made a few hoax mayday radio broadcasts.
Listen to the broadcast message here: https://www.dvidshub.net/audio/59779/coast-guard-seeks-tips-threatening-radio-broadcast
Investigators say they can tell the transmissions are coming from somewhere off the Gulf Coast in the area of Manatee or Pinellas County.
"Making these claims is dangerous to people on the water," Kelley said.
Marine band radios are most commonly used by boaters to get in touch with the Coast Guard or other boaters when there's an emergency.
"Channel 16 being able to reach out and talk to anybody around you or the Coast Guard if you're in trouble, is invaluable," said Captain Dylan Hubbard with Hubbard's Marina.
Channel 16 is designated for hailing and distress. So clogging up the frequency with fake mayday calls or other chatter can delay help being deployed.
Hubbard said it would be like someone cutting off the path of a fire truck headed to a burning building.
"You're stopping someone from potentially saving lives," Hubbard explained. "And that's what this radio is, it's a life-saving device."
The latest threat came across channel 22, a working station the Coast Guard will have folks switch over to so they can communicate.
"You are playing with the Russian government. I suggest you back the [expletive] off, cuz if you don't back the [expletive] off you're gonna lose a lot of coastguardsmen," the man threatened.
Someone making false distress calls and hoaxes can face up to 10-years behind bars, up to a $250,000 fine, and could be on the hook for the cost of the search.
If you recognize the man's voice or know anything about the caller, yore urged to call the Coast Guard Investigative Service, St. Petersburg at 727-535-1437 ext. 2308.