Oops! Tsunami warning issued by mistake

/ Source: The Associated Press

A false tsunami warning was automatically sent to television and radio stations throughout Alaska Monday morning, the National Weather Service said. The agency said it was not clear how the mistaken warning got out.

"It went out by mistake. There is no danger of tsunami anywhere," said K.B Bennekamper, a meteorologist in the agency's Anchorage forecast office.

The message, which went directly from the weather service to Alaska broadcasters, contained only a tsunami warning header. A real emergency message would have had text outlining which areas of the state were covered, Bennekamper said.

The Weather Service later sent a correction.

Bennekamper said the weather service received phone calls from stations from Fairbanks to Juneau when the tsunami warning was not followed by any further information.

"Every phone in the place started ringing," said Ed Bennett, assignment editor for KTUU television in Anchorage. "We had between 30 to 50 phones calls in the newsroom and an equal number at the front office in a 15-minute period."

It was not immediately clear how the automatic warning was issued, except technicians were working on a computer and showing a new intern how warnings are issued.

"He says no one sent anything, you couldn't set it off without going through three of four steps. It might have been glitch in the machine," Bennekamper said. "We're still trying to figure out why it went out."