The no plane that didn’t crash on the sea

A new tragedy was known yesterday, Thursday: Airplane falls into the sea near Gran Canary. That was what every media started to publish in their web pages on Thursday evening.

A time later, media had to rectify. It was a ship (a tugboat tugging another ship), quietly sailing on the sea, as ships use to do.

tug boat misled with a plane

Really the ship has a curious shape, that can be mistaken from distance. A person saw it from the coast in Canary island and alerted the emergency services. Then, the Canary emergency services (Canary 112) published the news in Twitter.

Canary emergengy services first tweet

Soon every great media had published the news in their web pages, and social networks were flooded with tweets and retweets. In just a few minutes, dozens of people were at the coast, in the nearest place, to watch the crashed plane. Even some people had identified the plane already, a Boeing 737 with 190 people inside, they said. Of course, there were some witness claiming that had seen the plane in the moment it fell.

Until a helicopter overflied the place, and found out it was a ship. The emergency services rectified the news with a second tweet… eight minutes later.

Canary emergency services second tweet

You can see the time in the two tweets. The first tweet, saying a plane crashed into the sea, at 4:01 PM; the second one saying it is a tugboat, at 4:09 PM. Just eight minutes, but it was enough to let a lot of people to make fools of themselves.


Well, this incident let some reflections:

  • Is the broadcasting of news the main task of the emergency services? They published the news in Twitter immediately, almost before to do any other thing, before to confirm it and of course before to know any detail about which flight it was. It’s obvious that wouldn’t have helped the rescue, if it had been a crash plane, and only caused anguish in relatives of people flying in that moment in the area.
  • Which is the credibility of media? Some years ago, media tried to confirm news before to publish them. Media were relativey careful, because it was thought that wrong news and mistakes would damage their credibility. But that was years ago. Now the speed is the only thing to have in account. They publish every thing, if it is enough morbid. If it was wrong, later a little rectification is enough. Currently great media, with their hundreds or thousands of journalists and employees, with their huge budgets, have the same credibility and reliability that a simple blog like this one, made by a guy from home.

At least, the crew of the tugboat will have a good topic for conversation during these days.



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