By Staff

BLOCK ISLAND (CBS) — Two Rhode Island men have reached a settlement with the government over a needless Coast Guard search off Block Island.

According to the Acting United States Attorney of Rhode Island, the men set off three flares to celebrate a friend’s wedding on June 6, 2020. They videotaped the event and posted it on social media.

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“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.”

Unbeknownst to them, the flares were seen and reported to the New Shoreham harbormaster, who alerted the Coast Guard.

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The Coast Guard and local first responders searched the area where the flares were seen for hours. A boat and two Coast Guard helicopters were involved.

Social media posts used as evidence against two men who admitted to setting off distress flares and prompting a needless search (Photo Via US Attorney of Rhode Island)

It is against federal law to falsely send a distress signal.

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Perry C. Phillips, 31, and Benjamin C. Foster, 33, have admitted to their behavior and agreed to pay $10,000 each in a civil fine, the U.S. Attorney said. Staff