08/20/2013 05:19 EDT | Updated 10/20/2013 05:12 EDT

U.S. man to pay Canadian government after false claim leads to search operation

CLEVELAND - An Ohio man has been ordered to pay the Canadian government nearly US$212,000 after sending search-and-rescue teams from both sides of the border on a wild goose chase in Lake Erie.

Danik Shiv Kumar, 21, pleaded guilty earlier this year to making a false distress call by telling a Cleveland airport he had seen a boat in distress.

Kumar was on a solo flight over the lake in March 2012 when he claimed to have seen a boat with at least four people on it lighting emergency flares.

A Canadian plane from CFB Trenton in Ontario took part in a 21-hour search alongside helicopters and vessels from U.S. Coast Guard stations in Ohio and Michigan.

The Sandusky man later admitted he had never seen the boat or flares, and was sentenced to three months in prison, and ordered to pay for the search.

U.S. officials say the restitution to Canada is part of the US$489,000 cost of the search.