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Mistaken Press Release Sparks Panic In Siberia

Russia -- Vorkuta locator map, 04Mar2013
Russia -- Vorkuta locator map, 04Mar2013
A mistaken report by a local branch of the Emergency Situations Ministry has sparked momentary panic in Russia's Tyumen region.

The Emergency Situations Ministry issued a press release early on October 4 saying 55 people had died in a chlorine-gas accident at a waterworks -- but forgot to mention it was all part of a scheduled training simulation.

The press release also said a toxic cloud was spreading across the city of Tyumen and adjacent areas.

It took officials five minutes to realize their mistake and issue a corrected version of the statement. But by that time the report had already been picked up by several national media and widely reported on social networks.

Russian emergency services are holding scheduled drills across the country on October 4.

Based on reporting by AFP, RIAN