Lesson learnt from Gran Canaria false Boeing 737

@112canarias did what an emergency service should do: mobilized all they resources as an emergency was going on (according to the official information they have) and inform (using social media) of the emergency. They are not being criticized for the command and control part, but for the policy they applied with social media. So to speak: be the first source of information and monitor information, so you will avoid rumours. Where they in a rush using Twitter? Were they crying wolf? That is really what is being questioned here, not the job they did related to the emergency management.

And that is the question really. Whether @112canarias should have not rushed to share the information using social media.

It is quite easy to criticize afterwards. What it is not that simple is to be in someone else’s shoes. And it sounds to me that if they rushed to Twitter, all the rest (the mass media and some others) decided to make @112canarias a scapegoat, when they are surely not the first neither the last to make a mistake like that.

Why do these things happen? Because the new “need”, in the new landscape of social media, is to be the first. And, allow me to say, journalism is not a matter of being first but of accuracy, trusted sources and information of quality, even if you are not the first and, especially, when we are talking of emergencies.

Citizen journalism and social media

The so called “citizen journalism” is one of the reason of all this rush. But journalist should not let us get in the mainstream, since we are the professionals, while citizens armed with a smartphone are just that: ordinary citizens without the knowledge to separate the wheat from the chaff. 

Let’s not forget that no one was hurt and that @112canarias reacted very quickly to withdraw wrong information.

Imagine what could have happen if the information given have been rigth and a passenger's aeroplane have been in the middle of the sea. 

Let's analyze what happened.

At 16.01 hours @112canarias launched a message on Twitter saying : "Control confirms Canarias Ocean plane crash two miles Gran Canaria coast up to Jinámar number of passengers is unknown. " (Twitter screenshot  above)

This information had been given to them by AENA, as it's been reproduce in the tweet, so the source of information was an official one.

Fifteen minutes after that AENA claimed that it was a "false alarm ."

The photograph of a tug with a yellow crane whose profile resembled a plane landed on water contributed to the confusion. It was the same picture that had seen from earth a witness and prompted the first warning call to the emergency number112.

18 minutes later @112canarias  reported that both the Air Rescue Service (SAR ) and Air Control, as well as an emergency  helicopter confirmed that it was a  tugboat, and there wasn't any crash plane.

AENA assured that they had followed the normal protocol in case of plane crash , but in " no time " had given official notice of a possible accident.

Well...that is not what we can infer from the official conversation between AENA and the Emergency Service 112.

Moreover, AENA explained that they had to check the radar screens for a missing aircraft through the airspace of Gran Canaria.

Had they not do so, before assuring to Emergency Service 112 that there was a Boeing  737  on the ocean?

Crying wolf or making Civil Protection?

What if it  have been a real crash? What if we have had 190 people on a Boeing 737 on the ocean? We might eithe rbe mourning for victims or congratulating @112 for their swift response activating all their resources. From the point of view of command and control, they deserve an A+.

Regarding crisis communications, as @ ccajete said, we should see this mistake as an opportunity to improve.

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