Apocalypse Not Yet: 'Rapture Hour' passes quietly
Preacher predicted Earth's destruction would start at 6 p.m. local time in each time zone
Saturday's Doomsday deadline came and went without major incident despite claims from a California preacher the beginning of the Earth's destruction would start around 6 p.m. in every time zone.
Followers of Harold Camping, an 89-year-old retired civil engineer who runs a nonprofit ministry, are preparing for the apocalypse — which Camping predicted would occur May 21 this year. His legion of believers across the world had prepared themselves for the end of the world.
Based in Oakland, Calif., Camping's Family Radio ministry has spent millions on more than 5,000 billboards — many in Israel, Jordan and Lebanon — plastered with the doomsday message. Camping previously predicted the end back in 1994, which he claimed didn't happen because of a mathematical miscalculation.
Predictions were that the end would start around 6 p.m. local time in the various time zones around the world. That would mean the South Pacific would be the first to experience an apocalypse. But the doomsday deadline came and went without any reports of destruction in that region as well as Europe.
"It's already past 6:00 in New Zealand and the world hasn't ended," said one Twitter post from there.
Saying there was "no possibility that it will not happen," Canning claimed the date corresponds exactly to 7,000 years since the biblical flood story of Noah's ark.
From Rapture pranks to 'Rapture parties,' here's a look at how some people spent their May 21.
The former engineer said 200 million people will be saved and advised believers to surround themselves with their loved ones but not to meet publicly.
In New York's Times Square, Robert Fitzpatrick, who spent his own money to put up advertising in the city about the end of the world, said he was surprised when 6 p.m. deadline simply came and went.
"I can't tell you what I feel right now," he said, surrounded by tourists. "Obviously, I haven't understood it correctly because we're still here."
Naysayers have been holding apocalypse parties all over the world.
With files from The Associated Press