(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

Delapidated houses on Henderson get demolition deadline

Property owner has to fence off and then demolish Chilliwack downtown properties within 30 days

Harrison country singer teaches kids to ‘follow your heart’

Todd Richard will be performing his song ‘Follow Your Heart’ for students on Feb. 1

Offender reintegration program gets $1.23 million in federal funding

Abbotsford-based No One Leaves Alone project also serves Mission, Chilliwack and Langley

Lucas Mannes comes home, leading Calgary Dinos against UFV Cascades

The Canada West scoreboard tracks Chilliwackians playing in the university basketball ranks.

PACWest Scoreboard: Gabe Mannes and Columbia Bible College chase first W.

The PACWest scoreboard updates how Chilliwackians are doing in the university basketball ranks.

Canada’s archive buys rare book that hints at Nazi plans for North America

The 1944 book may have served as a blueprint for a Nazi purge

B.C. hospital apologizes for veteran’s five-day hallway stay

Clinical director of Victoria General Hospital says case of retired veteran ‘definitely excessive’

Speaker Darryl Plecas says ‘justice’ needed for legislature employees

Plecas spoke to media at the opening of a pedestrian and cycling bridge in Abbotsford Wednesday

Advocate hopes B.C. legislature scandal leads to more transparency

‘Depressing’ that it takes a scandal to inspire freedom of information reform, says Sara Neuert

‘Dr. Lipjob’ avoids jail, gets 30-day suspended sentence

She will have to serve the 30 days in prison if she commits a breach during her two-year’s probation

Ex-Mountie involved in Taser death at Vancouver airport sues government

Kwesi Millington claims he acted in accordance with RCMP training

47 men arrested by Vancouver police for allegedly seeking sex with teenage girls

Seven of those arrested have been charged as part of a two-month operation

Surrey farmers taking stock of revamped Canada Food Guide

Products that were once big at the table — like meat and dairy — have been put on the back-burner

Surrey Pretrial inmate lodges human rights complaint for not being fed kosher food

Inmate claims denial of her request for kosher diet violates Section 8 of the Human Rights Code

Most Read