2 men fined over search and rescue mission touched off by flares for friend's wedding

2 men fined over search and rescue mission touched off by flares for friend's wedding
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Two men have been fined over a search and rescue mission that occurred after they set off flares for a friend’s wedding in Rhode Island.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Providence said Tuesday that Perry C. Phillips and Benjamin C. Foster fired three flares in the air to celebrate a friend’s wedding, causing a “needless and expensive maritime search and rescue operation.”

The flares fired off Block Island led to a rescue mission with a surface vessel and two Coast Guard helicopters after residents saw the flares and reported it to authorities. 

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The flares caused a “multi-hour search operation” on June 6 when no rescue was needed, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

Phillips and Foster broke federal law against falsely communicating a distress signal, it added. 

The pair did not know at the time that other residents saw the flares, and one admitted to knowing the flare was a maritime distress signal.

Both said they understood the flares were used improperly and admitted to the act, agreeing to pay $10,000 in a civil penalty.