Alberta faces emergency from falling space junk

Emergency Management Alert, February 17, 2009

Here’s one crisis few emergency management plans likely address—the threat from falling space debris.

However, emergency officials in the Canadian province of Alberta scrambled on Friday the 13th to respond to reports that Russian rocket debris, estimated to be the size of a school bus, was minutes away from striking the area, reported the Canwest News Service. Alberta officials were on high alert, but just briefly, as a potential crisis was averted after a change in the trajectory of the debris, which instead landed in the Atlantic Ocean.

It was such a close call that the Alberta Emergency Management Agency was within seconds of issuing a public warning notice, the news service reported. Officials feared the possibility of mass casualties if the space debris struck a residential area, such as the city of Calgary.

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