Two men fined $10,000 after sparking needless rescue search while celebrating friend’s wedding

Two fellows were fined $5,000 each for sparking a massive rescue search after firing maritime distress flares in the midst of celebrating a friend’s wedding. 

Perry Phillips, 31, and Benjamin Foster, 33, of Rhode Island, have ignited a massive rescue operation. The hour and a half search cost over $100,000. However, it turned out that all that money was wasted for nothing.

Credits: U.S. Attorney’s Office, Rhode Island

After the New Shoreham harbormaster received an alarming signal for flares in the sky off Block Island on June 6, 2020, they immediately contacted the Coast Guard. They then launched the search, which included two helicopters and a boat, only to find out there was no one to rescue.

The flares in the sky were not signaling a call for help – they were Perry and Benjamin’s way of celebrating a friend’s wedding. They even posted it on Instagram.

As Daily Mail reports, the DOJ said in a statement:

“At least one of the two knew at the time that the flares were a maritime distress signal, and both understood that it was improper to use them as they did.”

Credits: U.S. Attorney’s Office, Rhode Island

According to the prosecutors, the pals borrowed a flare gun and flares, set out on the water in a small boat, and fired three flares when they thought they could be seen by people at their friend’s wedding reception.

Federal officials initially sought to recover the entire cost of the search – $103,948. However, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has determined that the civil complaint will be dismissed once Philips and Foster pay a $10,000 fine – $5,000 each.

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