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3 Jun, 2021 09:54

‘Unacceptable dysfunctions’ that disabled emergency numbers stuns France, as 3 die amid chaos and govt summons Orange boss

‘Unacceptable dysfunctions’ that disabled emergency numbers stuns France, as 3 die amid chaos and govt summons Orange boss

The French interior minister has deplored a technical glitch which prevented the country’s emergency services receiving calls from Wednesday afternoon. The minister claimed there were three serious incidents during the outage.

Speaking on Thursday during a press conference, interior minister Gerald Darmanin said the government had summoned the Chief Executive of telecoms firm Orange, Stéphane Richard, after a major outage impacted emergency services.

Darmanin said that the outage had affected all of France for several hours and that alternative numbers were still in use.

The dysfunctions which affected the entire territory to varying degrees are serious and unacceptable.

He stated that there were three major incidents during the outage, noting that one person in Brittany may have died because emergency services were not immediately contactable. 

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The minister added that there were two other cardiovascular incidents in Reunion but could not say for sure if the emergency number failure contributed to a negative outcome. His entourage confirmed that these two “incidents” had resulted in the death of the patients. “What is certain is that the people testified that they tried to call several times and that they did not succeed immediately in obtaining operators,” the minister added.

The massive outages were reported across the country from around 6pm on Wednesday, causing great challenges for patients and the emergency services. Alternative emergency numbers, both landline and mobile, were set up and remain in place.

A spokesman for Orange said that works had been carried out during the night and that service had been restored. The outage was, according to the spokesman, a result of a malfunction in the equipment responsible for traffic routing.

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