MEXICO CITY, July 29 (UPI) -- SkyAlert, a Mexican firm providing earthquake warnings, apologized Tuesday for a false alarm that panicked Mexico City residents.
Thousands of people evacuated buildings Monday after their mobile app told them of "a quake within seconds" in their area.
The company claims to have satellite warning systems that can alert app users of earthquakes, up to a minute before they occur. Mexico City is prone to earthquakes; an 8.1-Richter scale quake killed over 10,000 people in 1985.
Shortly after noon Monday a warning of a "strong earthquake" was sent to app users, causing people to leave their homes and workplaces to congregate in the streets of the city. Disparaging Twitter comments from users followed immediately.
(((( ALERTA SISMICA )))) Prepárese para un SISMO en los próximos segundos. #SkyAlert Activo. 28Jul14 12:16:40— SkyAlert (@SkyAlertMx) July 28, 2014
Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera announced the warning was sent by an "unofficial app" and that the National Seismological service had not noted an earthquake.
SkyAlert initially blamed CIRES, the country's official seismic alert system, but later offered "most sincere apologies for this unfortunate incident," adding it had "misinterpreted a message it had received from CIRES."