Tourists attempt to flee New Zealand earthquake “forecast”

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Wellington (dpa) – A German couple attempted to hurriedly leave a New Zealand city after mistaking a scheduled earthquake drill for an earthquake forecast, the Stuff website reported on Friday.

The couple told staff at a tourist centre in Dunedin that they wanted to arrange accommodation outside the city and needed to leave early “because you are having an earthquake.”

The pair had seen an advertisement for the country’s annual earthquake drill during which citizens practice their “drop, cover and hold” manoeuvres and take shelter under the nearest office or school desk.

The tourists were at first embarrassed but then laughed about their mistake, the manager of the Dunedin i-Site office, Louise van de Vlierd told the website.

She said a German-speaking staff member was able to explain that the New Zealand ShakeOut was a drill, adding “we don’t know when the earthquakes are going to happen.”

More than 1.3 million New Zealanders took part in the nationwide earthquake drill on October 15.

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