(Canadian Press)

Prankster broadcasts fake nuclear threat in Winnipeg

The audio recording on Sunday warned of a nuclear attack against Canada and the United States

Police say a warning of a nuclear threat that was broadcast in a downtown Winnipeg neighbourhood was a prank.

The audio recording blasted through Osborne Village around 9:20 p.m. on Sunday and warned that a nuclear attack was occurring against Canada and the United States. It said six missiles were expected to strike in the next 15 to 25 minutes.

“All Canadian residents should seek out a fallout centre immediately,” the recording said in a mechanical-sounding voice.

It warned people to stay away from windows and to put together survival kits.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would address the public shortly, it added.

Const. Jay Murray said police received four calls about the recording before officers arrived and the broadcast stopped.

An investigation determined the audio was from an online video played through a home speaker system.

“This is some jokester who probably thought it would be funny to play this audio and it’s unfortunate,” Murray said. “I don’t think they probably realized the amount of fear and panic they put into some people and the stress on, not only the police system, but other systems as well.”

Ron Schuler, minister responsible for emergency measures, said emergency alerts in Manitoba would be broadcast on radio and television or through a message on mobile phones.

“It is done by proper channels. It’s not done by a rusty van with speakers hanging out the side. It’s not the van down by the river making these announcements,” he said.

There have been false alerts around the world as U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have exchanged words over the testing of nuclear weapons.

RELATED: Hawaii missile-alert mistake feeds doubt

In January, panic ensued in Hawaii after a false ballistic missile alert was sent out warning people to seek shelter. The employee who sent it was fired from the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.

Only a few days later, Japan’s public broadcaster NHK sent a false emergency alert to subscribers of its mobile app that stated North Korea had launched a missile. The broadcaster quickly sent a retraction and apologized.

On the weekend, the BBC had to issue a statement saying a video that went viral of a BBC journalist warning of thermonuclear war was false.

Murray said Winnipeg police have not encountered a prank like this before, but he predicted it isn’t likely to be the last. There would be serious ramifications for anyone considering a similar stunt, he said

“I can’t imagine if you have someone who thinks this is imminent, what is going thorough their mind, so it’s a matter we take very seriously.”

Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

UPDATE: Vehicle hits boat into Courtenay home

Driver reportedly failed a breathalyzer at the scene and was subsequently released

Jangula denounces Culture Guard endorsement

Has asked to be removed from list

Preliminary inquiry for Island resident facing numerous charges in Comox Valley shooting

A 27-year-old Saanich resident had his preliminary hearing in Courtenay Wednesday as… Continue reading

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

VIDEO: Leaf Compassion celebrates legalization in Courtenay

Leaf Compassion in Courtenay celebrated the official legalization of marijuana in Courtenay… Continue reading

Mellow opening to B.C.’s only legal pot shop

About five people lined up early for the opening of the BC Cannabis Store in Kamloops.

Foster care is ‘superhighway to homelessness,’ B.C. youth advocate says

Katherine McParland grew up in foster care and lived on the streets

Carr, Morneau off to China next month to deepen commerce

Carr says Canada and China aren’t embarking on formal free trade talks

Edmonton girl guide sells out of cookies in front of cannabis store

On the first day cannabis was legal a young entrepreneur capitalized on cookie sales

Tougher laws introduced against bestiality, animal fighting

The Liberal government is proposing to strengthen the laws today

Money Monitor: Should you switch to a fixed-rate mortgage?

BMO’s Omar Abouzaher outlines the pros and cons of both types of mortgages

Earth still moving in Old Fort, B.C., but not above homes: geologists

Transportation Ministry crews are ready to start work on the Old Fort road

Around the BCHL: Youth trumps experience for Chilliwack and Salmon Arm

Around the BCHL is a look at goings-on in the BCHL and the junior A world.

Comox Valley reverend supports SOGI

Rev. Ingrid Brown is among hundreds of Christian leaders in B.C. who… Continue reading

Most Read