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Emergency system meltdown in NZ

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 1/05/2016
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Callers dialling 111 for emergency services throughout New Zealand couldn't get through for 45 minutes in the early hours of Sunday.

Police say a technical fault with the 111 system from midnight to 12.45am meant callers heard an automated message saying the system was overloaded and couldn't proceed further.

The nationwide fault is being investigated.

Inspector Mal Schwartfeger says the fault was with the police system rather than with telecommunications company Spark. Spark identified the issue and alerted police.

A backup system was used, and it took 35 to 40 minutes to clear the backlog of calls.

The main system was restored at 2am on Sunday.

"We believe a number of callers were affected, however more work needs to be done before we know the exact number. We do know that some callers called back on numerous occasions," he said.

He acknowledged that people using the 111 system may be in life-threatening situations.

"We apologise to those people who were unable to access emergency services and can assure people that the system has been restored to normal service.

"We will be taking any necessary steps to ensure the fault does not occur again," he said.

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