A nuclear attack prank panicked many in a Winnipeg neighborhood Sunday night after the audio from an online video was played through a home speaker system, CTV News reported.
The audio recording, which was heard throughout Osborne Village in Winnipeg at about 9:20 p.m., warned of six missiles expected to strike the United States and Canada in 15 to 20 minutes and said Canadians should find a fallout shelter, the broadcaster said.
According to CBC News, the message said it was being "transmitted at the request of the Canadian government" and that residents should find a shelter with "as many walls and layers between you and the outside world as possible."
The message added that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would speak through all media stations soon, CBC News stated.
Winnipeg Police Services Constable Jay Murray said authorities received four phone calls about the announcement but it had stopped by the time police arrived, CTV News wrote.
"This is some jokester who probably thought it would be funny to play this audio and it's unfortunate," Murray told CTV News. "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."
CTV News wrote that Japan's public broadcaster NHK sent a false emergency alert to subscribers of its mobile app that said North Korea had launched a missile just a few days earlier, but quickly sent a retraction and apology.
Fear of a nuclear attack heightened when President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un traded threats last year and the United Nations handed down sanctions against North Korean for its nuclear weapons testing.
A false alert of a ballistic missile threat sent to cell phones in Hawaii in January sent thousands into panic before city and military officials took to social media in an attempt to quell fears, Hawaii News Now reported.
Murray told CTV News that suspects will face "serious ramifications" for a similar stunt.
"I can't imagine if you have someone who thinks this is imminent, what is going through their mind, so it's a matter we take very seriously," Murray told the television station.
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