Oops. The security-minded folks at the U.S. embassy in Oslo carried out a safety drill earlier this week, placing fake bombs on vehicles to rehearse their emergency-response operations. Apparently, they forgot about one of the bombs. On Tuesday, the practice bomb was spotted on an embassy vehicle as it tried to enter the embassy grounds just after 11 a.m. The eagle-eyed security guards on duty leaped into action.
The embassy was evacuated, as was Norway’s royal palace and part of downtown Oslo. Authorities even temporarily suspended subway service. An international children’s soccer game was canceled at nearby Voldslokka Stadium so that the field could be used to land helicopters close to the embassy. The Oslo bomb squad, emergency services and other agencies responded to the bomb alert and quickly determined that the bomb was fake. “The Oslo police bomb squad has removed the object and can confirm that it was a dummy bomb,” police said in a statement. “The car has been used for an internal drill at the embassy, and the find can be connected to this.”
On Wednesday, U.S. officials apologized for their mistake in leaving the fake bomb and essentially calling a bomb scare on themselves. “This morning at our U.S. embassy in Oslo,” State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell told ABC News, “embassy security staff identified a suspicious device in an embassy-owned vehicle and took appropriate precautions. Upon investigation, the device was determined to be a nonthreatening training device previously used in an exercise. We regret any disruption caused by this incident, not only for visitors to the embassy and others, but neighbors, and we take any potential threat seriously and respond immediately.”
The Oslo city council, as reported by ABC News, is seeking compensation for the police response.