Mobile phone firm behind meteorite hoax
Tuesday 27 October 2009
A Swedish mobile phone operator acknowledged today it was behind an elaborate meteorite hoax in Latvia and pledged to reimburse the Baltic nation for all costs spent by police, rescue and military workers in the incident.
Vita Sirica, a spokeswoman for the Latvian branch of Tele2, said the stunt was co-ordinated with a PR firm "to draw attention away from Latvia's economic crisis and toward something else more interesting".
In response, Latvia said today it would cut its contracts with the company.
"The Interior Ministry doesn't want to do business with a firm that promotes itself at our expense," Interior Minister Linda Murniece told the LNT news channel.
The incident made headlines around the world on Monday after rescue authorities said a fiery object had created a large crater in a meadow near the Estonian border.
Scientists rushed to the scene to investigate, while rescue, police and military units cordoned off the area and tested for radioactivity.
Geologist Uldis Nulle said the 27-foot wide and nine foot (three-meter) deep hole initially appeared to have been caused by a meteorite. But after a closer analysis, he and other experts said the hole was too tidy and had to have been made by humans.
State Police, a branch of the Interior Ministry, said they were still calculating the costs incurred from the hoax but did not plan to open a criminal investigation.
Sirica said nine people dug the hole and burned chemicals at the bottom to create the illusion of a meteorite crash. They filmed the smoking hole in a video that later appeared on Latvian news sites, she said.
At the company's headquarters in Stockholm, Tele2 spokeswoman Pernilla Oldmark said the hoax was carried out by the company's Latvian branch but sanctioned by its head office.
"This is entirely a part of a marketing campaign that will start shortly," Oldmark said, declining to elaborate.
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
- 3 Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
- 4 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...