Saturday, March 29, 2014

The reported plane crash that never happened

Great confusion in the Canary Islands on Thursday after a TUI plane was erroneously  reported to have crashed into the sea or made an emergency touchdown in waters a couple of miles off the coast of Gran Canaria, triggering a huge search and rescue operation, as reports:

''Gran Canaria: - The incident is likely to trigger a review of procedures at the Canaries 112 emergency number, where staff are being blamed for sparking a massive scare at 3pm by Tweeting details of the alleged disaster without waiting for confirmation. News wires buzzed with details of the 'crash', which turned out to be a false alarm caused by a photograph of a cargo ship which had a large plane-type structure on board. From a distance it looked as if a plane had made a sea landing two miles off the coast of Gran Canaria and the photograph spread like wildfire on social media and in digital papers. Fifteen minutes later, as media including the BBC mobilised correspondents to gather information on what looked like a major incident, a statement was issued by the Airports Authority and then the government denying that a plane had crashed. For the rest of yesterday, various official bodies blamed each other for the scare, with staff at the 112 hotline insisting they had received confrmation from air traffic control that a plane was down. The Spanish Transport Minister, who was giving a press conference with the president of the Canaries when she was informed of the crash by aides, was said to be very angry at the embarrassing gaffe.''
It did look a bit like a plane in the sea off the coast of Gran Canaria (images above and below from Canarias7)
The folded Dutch floating crane (inset) that vaguely resembles a TUI plane was sailing past Gran Canaria.
Images source: canarias7 , where you can see lots of jokes about the incident. The social media are full of jokes about this embarrassing incident as this photo on Twitter (below) mocking the all-out mobilisation  proves:

Source: Canarias7
There's no end to the jokes about the incident (see the two examples above).
The 112 emergency centres have published their radio conversations with air traffic control which show that the false alarm which triggered the all-out mobilisation of hundreds of rescue personnel was based on the confirmation by officers of the Spanish national police on shore that a plane was in the water - while all planes in Canary islands airspace were accounted for. 
Polcia Nacional 'plane spotting' on Thursday   Image: Canarias7

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