AN April Fool joke
about a replica of the Titanic almost ended in fresh disaster yesterday.
A local radio DJ
in Brighton told his listeners that a replica of the ship would be
seen off the coast at Beachy Head, east Sussex. Hundreds of his
listeners believed him and raced to the beauty spot.
disappointed at realising it was a prank was replaced by panic when a
5ft crack appeared in the 400ft cliff face. Coastguards and local
council officials ordered people to leave and cordoned off the area.
The Coastguard was less than happy with Southern FM, whose only clue
that it was a hoax was that the replica was built by a company called
AFD (April Fools Day).
A spokesman said:
"This has not only caused us a lot of problems but it has also
put the public at risk. "The cliffs at Beachy Head are
notoriously dangerous at any time but today they are shrouded in fog
and we have identified a large crack in the face of one of the
cliffs. Hundreds have been attracted there because of this silly
joke. We don't think it's very funny."
Joyce Smart, 40,
had driven her two children more than 30 miles to see the ship. She
said: "I felt such an idiot but more than anything I was angry
at the station for wasting my time. My kids were very upset." A
station spokesman said: "It was just a bit of fun." But the
disappointment felt by the listeners was nothing compared with that
of people in Iraq.
jubilation in Baghdad after the newspaper Babel, run by Uday Hussein,
elder son of Saddam Hussein, announced a big rise in food rations.
The celebrations were shortlived, when it was revealed as a tasteless
April Fool joke.