DETROIT, SEPT. 13 -- A man who identified himself as a Roman Catholic priest and counseled relatives of victims of the Northwest Airlines crash may actually have been an impostor soliciting cases for a lawyer, officials said.

Authorities are looking for a man who appeared at Detroit Metropolitan Airport a day after Flight 255 crashed Aug. 16, killing 156 people, and identified himself as "Father John Irish." The man apparently mingled with other clergy and counseled victims' relatives, referring at least one to a Florida attorney.

"The Michigan Bar and Florida Bar {associations} are assisting in this matter right now," said Wayne County Sheriff Robert Ficano, who wouldn't release the Florida lawyer's name.

A man identifying himself as the Rev. John Irish of the Ministry of Salvation Church of Chula Vista, Calif., telephoned The Associated Press tonight and said he was the man in question.

Earlier, he telephoned Cable News Network and was asked if he had referred anyone he spoke to after the crash to lawyers.

"No, of course not," he said.

Calls to the Chula Vista church were answered by a recording.

The Rev. Walter Hurley, judicial vicar for the Archdiocese of Detroit, said earlier he checked the national registry of priests and consulted Episcopalian officials, and found no priest or minister named Irish.