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''See: May Day for the May 1 celebration.
Mayday is one of several emergency- and distress-related code words from the French language used internationally as a distress signal. Unless you are a licensed radio operator or nautical or flight officer, never use the keyword "MAYDAY" unless you are aboard a vessel or aircraft which is in immediate danger of sinking or crashing! You may endanger the lives of rescuers tens or hundreds of miles away if you do. People in helicopters and other aircraft will respond to a MAYDAY call with limited fuel supplies and risk crashing in order to pinpoint your location! This has caused fatal crashes several times in open ocean and in the Canadian and Alaskan outback.

See also: call for help, SOS, distress signal