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Plane crash drill triggers panic in Oman

Oman Air website even put up a condolence message for 'those killed in the crash'

Image Credit: Gulf News

Muscat: A plane crash drill at the prestigious tourism project, the Wave, complete with a mock press release by Oman Air on their website created panic among residents in Muscat on Friday even as local bloggers began seeking information through the local forums on the web.

The Oman Air website even put up a condolence message from their CEO for 'those killed in the crash'.

The crash announcement on the website said: "Exercise Exercise Exercise Exercise 13th November 2009 11:14 hrs. Revised information indicates that Flight WY900 had a total of 158 people on board, there are 126 injuries, 29 fatalities (including all 8 crew) and 3 unaccounted for. It is further reported that there are five resident fatalities."

Residents were not forewarned about the drill so speculations ran rife until people started looking at the minor discrepancies like the wrong flight number and Exercise written at the top of the webpage.

"It was a drill carried out jointly by Oman Air, Armed Forces, Royal Oman Police and Civil Defence," a spokesperson for Oman Air told Gulf News on condition of anonymity.

He said a real aircraft without passengers was placed inside the Wave property behind the Muscat International Airport. "Right from emergency 9999 team to Oman Air staff were involved in the drill, which was also filmed by a television crew," he said.