British Columbia

Tsunami warning for B.C. sent in error

A tsunami alert was sent out in error during maintenance work on the provincial warning system on Friday.

Emergency Management BC apologizes for message sent during maintenance work

A tsunami alert was sent out in error during maintenance work on the provincial warning system on Friday. (CBC)

For five very long minutes, it seemed like the most-feared calamity expected in B.C., was here.

Newsrooms across the province, were sent an emergency alert at 1:50 p.m. PT on Friday saying a tsunami warning had been issued for much of the province's coastline, from as far north as Kitimat all the way south to Victoria. 

But the message was sent in error by Emergency Management BC.

"Maintenance work was being undertaken on the BC ERMS warning system and the recent message alerting B.C. to a Tsunami Threat was sent in error," said an email that arrived in newsrooms a few minutes later.

"There is no threat to B.C. from a Tsunami at this time."

EMBC apologized for the error, said spokeswoman Julianne McCaffrey. 

She says EMBC has a template ready for real emergencies with some placeholders, and the template was launched unintentionally during the mechanical work. 

Clues it was a fake

There were some clues that the original message was a fake. 

Instead of an actual number, the bulletin number was written as XXXX, and the email also said a "a large earthquake has occurred in the Pacific Basin near XXXX."

That didn't stop social media from lighting up with tweets about a tsunami warning, although most have deleted the original tweets and replaced them with the corrected information.

Read the original email from Emergency Management BC



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