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Off Beat News
Olathe official calls radio station prank "a terrorist attack."

04/02/2002

Olathe, Kan. (AP) -- A city water official says a radio station April Fools Day prank that caused some residents to think their water supply was unfit for drinking and even bathing was akin to "a terrorist attack."

Jerald Robnett, the city's superintendent of water protection, said his department received calls from 150 customers Monday after KQRC reported the water contained "high levels of a naturally occurring substance," dihydrogen monoxide, that causes increased urination, profuse sweating and wrinkling of hands and feet. Boiling the water long enough would get rid of the substance, however.

City officials said about 30 residents called 911.

Technically, radio personalities Johnny Dare and Murphy Wells had their facts straight. Dihydrogen monoxide is a scientific name for water. It can cause the "symptoms" described, and boiling will make it go away.

But the April Fool's Day gag upset Robnett so much that he said, "It's a terrorist act as far as I'm concerned.

"It's like going to the airport and shouting that you have a gun. It's stupidity."

City Manager Michael Wilkes called the joke irresponsible and said it jeopardized public safety.

KQRC program director Neal Mirsky said that as soon as the station realized there was a problem, "we pulled the plug on it."

"We didn't intend for any of this," he said. "We thought a couple of people would go to work without a shower."

Dare and Wells, known for their stunts, announced the "contamination" at 6:30 a.m. and revealed the prank about 8 a.m.

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