Chile Earthquake: How People Quickly Assumed Tsunami Alert was an 'April Fool's Day' Prank

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By Alyssa Ashley Lucas | April 2, 2014 7:52 PM EST

Just minutes after Bloomberg News announced on Twitter that a tsunami alert was issued following the magnitude 8.2 earthquake that hit the northern coast of Chile on April 1, people quickly reacted, assuming that it was an "April Fool's Day" prank. Nevertheless, the truth rested on reports that indeed a tsunami with 2-meter tall waves hit the northern part of Chile.

REUTERS/Stringer
People are evacuated from their shelter after a tsunami alarm at Antofagasta city, north of Santiago on the southern Pacific coast, April 1, 2014. A major earthquake of magnitude 8.2 struck off the coast of Chile on Tuesday, triggering a tsunami that hit the northern part of the country. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was shallow at 12.5 miles below the seabed and struck about 100 km northwest of the mining port of Iquique near the Peruvian border.

The earthquake in the northern coast set off a tsunami that caused landslides, killing five people in the process and brought Chile President Michelle Bachelet to make a national address, according to Reuters reports.

"The tsunami alert was given immediately, and we have seen an organized evacuation of the people, who have collaborated since the first moment. We have learned about the unfortunate death of five people, whose identities are being confirmed," President Bachelet said in Spanish.

Due to the intensity of the earthquake, people were evacuated from the coastal area. It was also reported that buildings partly collapsed, though mines came out unharmed. Chile is known for its copper production but there were no reports of damage at the mines though the workers evacuated to join their families.

"The country suffered an earthquake in the northern part of the country that was 8.3 on the Richter scale that affected the regions of Arica and Parinacota, the region of Tarapaca, and it was also felt in Antofagasta," President Bachelet also said in Spanish.

President Bachelet addressed the suffering that the northern part of Chile went through. According to the president's address, appropriate measures have been done in protection of the lives of the people affected by the massive earthquake.

". . . And the government will continue to work all the time that is necessary to confront this emergency and protect our citizens," President Bachelet continued.

Earlier this year, the country also went through an earthquake with magnitude 6.7 hitting the Pacific Coast where northern Chile's mines were observed with caution for possible tsunami. No casualties and no tsunami were reported. Though, there had been earthquakes with less magnitude that followed according to U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The incident cannot be considered as an "April Fool's Day" prank. But since it has already been a tradition when the first day of April usually confuses  a lot of people whether a news release is true or not, the public cannot be blamed. Nevertheless, here are some of the reactions brought by the Bloomberg News update on Twitter.

READ MORE:

8.2 Magnitude Earth Quake in Chile - No Tsunami Danger in Australia

Magnitude 4.4 Earthquake Hits Los Angeles Area; Hollywood Reacts on Twitter

Magnitude 6.7 Earthquake Hits Pacific Coast of Chile; What to Do Before, During And After a Disaster

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(Photo: REUTERS/Stringer / )
People are evacuated from their shelter after a tsunami alarm at Antofagasta city, north of Santiago on the southern Pacific coast, April 1, 2014. A major earthquake of magnitude 8.2 struck off the coast of Chile on Tuesday, triggering a tsunami that hit the northern part of the country. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was shallow at 12.5 miles below the seabed and struck about 100 km northwest of the mining port of Iquique near the Peruvian border.
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