Wednesday, April 7, 2010

AT&T connected Salt Lake City callers to 911 in Seattle

In late March many AT&T customers had a big and potentially life-threatening problem. When they called 911 for help, they were connected to an operator 1,000 miles away. AT&T says the problem was fixed but  doesn't know what caused it.

Utah resident Tony Sams said, "We witnessed a hit-and-run incident. We dialed 911." The dispatcher told Sams he had the wrong address, but Sams knew where he was. "I asked, ‘How is this possible? I dialed 911. I'm in Salt Lake. I've never been to Seattle," Sams says.

Somehow, his iPhone had connected him with a far-away emergency response center. He tried several more times with the same result. Finally, Sams looked up the general number for Salt Lake City police. He was told that Caller ID showed he was in Seattle.

"It doesn't make any sense that him being in Salt Lake City, dialing 911, that it would go to Seattle," said Salt Lake City police Sgt. Robin Snyder. "We're not quite sure what happened there."

When KSL News contacted Salt Lake police, they said they thought perhaps he had misdialed, or that the GPS on his phone was malfunctioning. But then officers started calling 911 from their phones, and they discovered that nearly every AT&T phone call was directed to Seattle.

(info from