Maui News

Fake Tsunami Report Issued on Fabricated Large Quake

May 21, 2019, 5:39 PM HST
* Updated May 21, 6:10 PM
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By Wendy Osher

Authorities with the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center are calling an email report that was distributed at around 4:33 p.m., a false tsunami message.   The email appeared to be from an email address at the warning center, which alerted those on the email chain of a non-existent earthquake in Japan. Authorities are looking into the source.

Following the initial notification, Maui Now received a follow-up email allegedly from agency representatives calling for a “retraction,” saying: “We have determined that there was a glitch in the system and have sent out an incorrect message.”   It is unclear if that message was also a fabrication or if it was actually from the PTWC.

A subsequent notification from the PTWC called the initial message a “fabricated earthquake and tsunami threat.”

The fake message was distributed at 4:33 p.m. and indicated the time of origin was 2:15 UTC (4:15 p.m. Hawaiʻi time) on May 22, 2019. The fake message stated that there was a large magnitude earthquake in Japan and a subsequent tsunami threat.

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“There was no large earthquake in Japan at 2:15 (UTC) and there was no tsunami threat message issued by this center,” the updated message from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center stated.

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Again, there is no tsunami threat in effect, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

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