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Officials bamboozled by false tsunami alarm

Officials bamboozled by false tsunami alarm

PHUKET: Disaster officials have inspected the three tsunami warning towers on the west coast that sounded their sirens early yesterday morning but still have yet to determine what caused the towers to sound their warnings.

By The Phuket News

Friday 28 April 2023, 10:38AM

The team inspected the towers from 7pm last night (Apr 27) under instructions from Udomporn Kan, head of the Phuket Provincial Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Office (DDPM-Phuket).

The three towers inspected were: WH07, behind Kamala Police Station); WH10, on Bang Tao - Ley Phang Beach, located on the beach next to the Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket Hotel, Cherng Talay; and WH15, next to the Katathani Hotel in Karon subdistrict (Kata Noi).

Joining the team of inspectors were Chaowalit Nitharat, Director of the DDPM Region 18 office; Saranpak Tantiwongphaisan president of the community group ‘Phuket Warning Friends’; and Rangsit Moonluang, a maintenance technician from Raydant International Co Ltd, which is contracted to maintain the towers.

The three towers sounded their sirens for “unknown reasons” at 3:43am yesterday, and caused people in the area to panic, noted an official report of the inspections last night.

The result of the inspections “showed that there was no abnormality of the device”, said the report.

The team spoke with people on the beach in the areas, including tourists, “to understand don’t panic”, the report added.

The DDPM is in the process of investigating other possible causes for the tsunami towers sounding their sirens, the report concluded.

A public notice issued by the national branch of the DDPM late yesterday confirmed that 25 emergency warning towers, including tsunami warning towers, in 14 provinces sounded their sirens “at about 3:30am” in the incident.

In addition to the three towers in Phuket, warning sirens were sounded in two locations in Phang Nga ‒ at Ban Nam Khem in Takua Pa District, and Loh Parek, in Moo 7, Tambon Phru, Koh Yao ‒ which both suffered heavy damage and casualties in the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.

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In Krabi, warning towers sounded their alarms at Baan Koh Kwang in Tambon Nong Talay, on Koh Sriboya in Nuea Khlong District and at Laem Pho, in Tambon Sai Thai.

Other provinces where the warning towers sounded their alarms included Ranong (three locations), Chonburi (five locations) and one location each in Satun, Narathiwat, Chumphon, Chiang Rai, Nong Bua Lam Phu, Kanchanaburi, Pattani and Nakhon Sri Thammarat.

The DDPM in its preliminary investigation confirmed that no officers had sent any signals to the towers to sound their alarms. Further, no abnormalities had been found in the computer system logs.

Technicians had inspected the towers. “No device malfunction was found,” reported the DDPM.

“This abnormality is an unprecedented cause,” the DDPM noted in its report.

Further investigations into the satellite signals received by the national disaster warning system will continue, the DDPM said.

It was vital for DDPM officers in each respective area “to clarify for the public to understand to build confidence and reduce panic of the people in the area”, the DDPM said

“The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation would like to apologise to the people in the areas for the incident, and will speed up investigating the facts, causes and fixing the defect as soon as possible,” the DDPM assured.

“And thank you to the district chiefs, administrators of the LAO [local administration organisations, such as OrBorTor], village headmen and volunteers in the areas for understanding and clarifying to the people in the area during the alarm sound,” the report concluded.

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Kamala Pete | 01 May 2023 - 12:27:03

Kurt - please engage brain before putting mouth in gear. It seems that a GPS "correctional" satellite (american) has gone awry. This could well be the cause. Until we know, STFU.

Kurt | 28 April 2023 - 22:05:42

Is there now really nothing Officials can handle,inspect and keep control off? Abnormality unprecedented cause? Nonsense. Give me a break. We know what the problem is. Simply laziness, not inspect towers frequent enough. Salty environment has effects. Oooooh, really? We never thought about that. Dombo's. Now tourists in panic, not trust the system. This goes viral world wide.


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