Norwegian news bureau NTB suffered a major embarrassment on Tuesday when it erroneously reported that King Harald V had died. NTB quickly realized its error, withdrew the report and issued a correction within three minutes.
“Norway is in mourning. King Harald V is dead, xx years old,” read the premature obituary for the monarch that clearly had been prepared in advance with the “x’s” ready to be replaced by numbers. “The king died xxxx (day/date) (at home/at the hospital or whereever) at xx (time).”
NTB’s news editor Ole Kristian Bjellaanes apologized for the error. “This unfortunately occured by mistake,” Bjellaanes told state broadcaster NRK. “There was of course no intention to send out the report. It was probably a technical error, but I can’t explain right now what’s to blame.”
A palace spokesman, Svein Gjeruldsen, told NRK that he has heard NTB had sent out the erroneous report “and I can confirm that the king is in fine shape.” Crown Prince Haakon, the king’s son, also confirmed that his father was fine. NRK reported that the king was taking part in the country’s annual moose hunt, which began this week.