An internal drill at the BBC aimed at rehearsing how the network will respond to the death of Queen Elizabeth II ended with public apologies today after a reporter brought part of the drill into the public via Twitter.
Amen Khawaja, a reporter at the BBC’s Urdu service, rang international alarms with a tweet reporting the monarch was in the hospital, followed by a tweet that said “Queen Elizabrth (sic) has died.”
False Alarm: Have deleted previous tweets!!
— Ahmen Khawaja (@AhmenKhawaja) June 3, 2015
NBC News reports at least two news organizations noticed the tweet and jumped:
The initial report was picked up by media outlets including CNN Newsource and German newspaper Bild.
However, a Buckingham Palace spokeswoman told NBC News that the queen was not only alive but carrying out public engagements.
It is not clear exactly how the mistake happened but the U.K.’s publicly-funded broadcaster was staging an internal drill on Wednesday to examine its readiness for the queen’s death, a routine event staged by many news organizations.
Khawaja later explained that she had left her phone at home unattended. Via Twitter, she said “Silly prank, Apologies for upsetting anyone!”
A BBC spokesperson said “during a technical rehearsal for an obituary, tweets were mistakenly sent from the account of a BBC journalist. The tweets were swiftly deleted and we apologize for any offence.”