Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Legend: A passenger on a trans-Atlantic flight was stuck to an airline toilet for more than two hours when flushing it created a vacuum that sealed her bottom to the seat.
Example: [BBC News, 2002]
The news reports exhibited from a dearth of checkable details, however: the incident had allegedly occurred "last year," the passenger was identified only as "an American woman," and what little information was available was provided by an unnamed "SAS spokeswoman." (Other news reports identified the SAS spokesperson as Siv Meisingset and stated that the American passenger "did not want to be identified.")
Not surprisingly, within the week these same outlets were running retractions that reported the eponymous "SAS spokeswoman" as relaying "that [SAS] internal checks had shown that the company's original information was false" and quoted her as saying that "we regret that we presented the story as true."
Eventually, an SAS spokesman (one with a name) provided some details about the mistake to the Ananova news service:
Thomas Brinch, a spokesman for SAS, told Ananova the story is probably just a fictional example from staff training on how air crew should deal with emergencies.Last updated: 17 December 2005
"We have now checked through all our complaints and claims and we have not been able to locate such an incident," he said.
"We have no idea how it surfaced but it's the sort of story that may have been used during training when you think of an extreme example of what the crew should do when such and such a thing happens.
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