Firefighters and divers were scrambled to a French town after a ‘crocodile’ was spotted in a river.
Authorities even told locals to stay away from Bergerac town centre amid the ‘discovery’ in the Dordogne.
Roads were also closed as emergency crews began their hunt for the ‘reptile’.
But a couple of hours after issuing the warning, Bergerac town hall admitted the ‘crocodile’ was a fake.
Officials later told The Connexion the incident was not a prank and that a number of people had reported seeing the animal in the river.
Big emergency response
Despite being a false alarm, the town did take the matter seriously, alerting emergency services quickly after the first call from a passer-by who had noticed the ‘animal’.
As officials posted on Ville de Bergerac’s social media account to warn residents, a team of firefighters, divers, gendarmes, and even members from the Office français de la biodiversité (French Office for Biodiversity) were scrambled.
They used poles and a net to catch the ‘animal’, before realising it was a realistic - albeit plastic - imitation.
[insolite] les @pompiers24 sont intervenus pour 1 crocodile dans la rivière à Bergerac. L'animal était faux. Le sauvetage des animaux est l'une des missions des SP et sont toujours prêts à intervenir, mais nos ressources sont précieuses et ne doivent pas être utilisées à tort ! pic.twitter.com/IHeEXtSkct— SDIS 24 (@pompiers24) May 22, 2023
Town sees the funny side
After the false alarm, the town’s social media posts show the authority was able to see the funny side.
After a resident asked a question about why the animal was not floating if it was a fake one, the town replied “the autopsy will tell us!”
It also made light of the situation on Tuesday (May 23) morning, changing the photo of its Facebook page to highlight the ‘crocodile’ (which is in fact a mediaeval dragon) found on the town’s coat of arms.