The April Fool Archive

Space Shuttle Lands in San Diego    (April Fool's Day - 1993)

Dave Rickards, a deejay at KGB-FM in San Diego, announced that the space shuttle Discovery had been diverted from Edwards Air Force Base and would land instead at Montgomery Field in a few hours (at 8:30 am). Montgomery Field is a small military airport located in the middle of a residential area just outside of San Diego. Thousands of commuters immediately headed towards the supposed landing site, causing enormous traffic jams that lasted for almost an hour. Police eventually had to be called in to clear the traffic. People arrived at the military airport armed with cameras, camcorders, and even folding chairs, ready to witness the landing. Reportedly the crowd swelled to over 1,000 people.

Of course, the shuttle never landed. In fact, the Montgomery Field airport would have been far too small for the shuttle to even consider landing there. Moreover, there wasn't a shuttle in orbit at the time. The police were not amused by the prank. They announced that they would be billing the radio station for the cost of forcing officers to direct the traffic. In its defense, the radio station said, "It was a joke. We're sorry, but it was April Fools. We're just trying to have some fun." The prank was actually not original. A Belgian newspaper had perpetrated the identical hoax on its readers in 1992. However, the San Diego hoax fooled far more people than its Belgian predecessor.

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