About a week and a half ago, a man called the emergency number and claimed he was distress on sea somewhere out in Faxaflói Bay which is located right off Reykjavík. The man said something like “We need help, we are in Faxaflói Bay, the boat is starting to leak a lot and we are putting on our floatation devices.” Apparently he also claimed they were close to Akranes, about 20 km north of the capital.
The Icelandic Coast Guard responded immediately by mobilizing divers, rescue boats, the Coast Guard’s helicopter as well as two Finnish helicopters and almost 200 people to participate in the search effort.
Emergency services searched Faxaflói Bay extensively but found no traces of a boat in distress or its passengers and subsequently called off the search
Now the police suspects the call was just a hoax and somebody had a good laugh at the cost of the Coast Guard and therefore published the phone call in the hope of finding the culprit. Anyone who may recognize the voice or know anything about the matter is asked to contact police on +354 444-1000!
If that was really a prank call… I mean, what person in their right mind makes a fake emergency call like that? A child, maybe, but the caller’s voice doesn’t sound like the voice of a child.
The person who did this must be a real dick. Sorry for the four letter word, but it is just like that. Faking emergencies is not funny!
I am actually surprised an Icelander would play a trick like that as seafaring has always played a vital role throughout the country’s history. So to me, this hoax seems almost like someone is breaking a taboo.
A friend of mine works at the harbor and told me what a commotion a distress call like this causes. I doubt that this wanna-be joker realizes the consequences of his doing.
Every boat or ship leaving the harbor has to sign off with the harbor master and provide information about how many passengers are on board in case of a rescue. Some of the small, unregistered vessels might slip through that system.
Everyone working in seafaring is really concerned once one of their own gets into trouble.
So when the prank call was made, the Coast Guard called every company operating at the harbor asking if anyone was missing a boat. And of course the companies also called around to see if anyone was missing.
So when people are making a huge effort trying to save people’s lives, one simply doesn’t joke about that.
And secondly, the helicopter search alone adds up to many millions of ISK (reportedly at least ISK 20 million).
I really hope the caller gets caught and gets what he deserves. Maybe we should leave him ashore on a tiny, desolate island or raft.
Katharina Hauptmann - [email protected]