Two ‘boater in distress’ calls made but nothing found on Oneida Lake


Within two days, the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office and other agencies responded to two boater in distress calls over the Memorial Weekend however, nothing was found.

“We had Sylvan Beach Fire Department, Cleveland Fire Department, I’m probably leaving someone out. Obviously the U.S. Coast Guard because they have a station there on Oneida Lake. They also flew in their helicopter from Buffalo.” -Sheriff Robert Maciol, Oneida County Sheriff’s Office

After several hours, the search was called off, ” We have no other calls coming in. You are also looking to see if you have a report of missing people or a boat maybe that didn’t return on time, none of that [happened]. ”

Two days later on May 30th, they received a second call, following the same procedures but not finding anything.

“The question we’re trying to answer, were these calls intentionally made as false calls? We don’t know the answer to that. Were these other boaters who saw something that they thought was a problem but maybe wasn’t really a problem, we don’t know that.”

If the calls are false, the person or persons who made them could face federal charges.

“It is a big concern for us because obviously you’re tying up a significant amount of resources. If a second true emergency were to come in somewhere else, these resources can’t be sent there because they’re tied up looking for something that doesn’t exist so that’s a huge concern for us. We always want to make sure you know we don’t have that cry wolf syndrome because we respond to every call, we will never not respond.”

Maciol says receiving two calls like this in the same weekend is very unusual but they are still investigating.

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