Canadian police officially announced evacuated all schools in the eastern province of Prince Edward Island due to a bomb threat and said similar threats were made on Wednesday against schools in Nova Scotia and the United States. However, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said no explosive device had been found at the PEI schools.
No less than 19,000 students at 62 schools were taken to safe locations in their communities around the island, which is off Canada’s Atlantic coast and is the country’s smallest province with a population of approximately 146,000.
“The message stated that the bombs had been placed in a number of schools and would be detonated today but it did not specify the time,” said RCMP Sergeant Kevin Bailey at a press conference. “There is an active investigation to identify the person or persons responsible.”
Bailey said the warning came by fax to the RCMP in Ottawa. “We like to err on the side of caution,” he said.
Bailey noted that similar threats had been received in the nearby province of Nova Scotia as well as at one school in the United States, without offering any detail on the U.S. threat.
The University of Prince Edward Island said it was closed for the day, “given the situation happening across the province.”
“They didn’t say there was a bomb threat or any specific threat; they just told us that school had been suspended for the rest of the day,” said Charlottetown student Peter Keedwell, 17. “It was pretty calm … people weren’t running out of school or anything.”
Police in Nova Scotia closed some college and university campuses. A Nova Scotia Community College campus in Halifax was evacuated after an anonymous threat, Halifax Regional Police said in a press release.
It said an explosive disposal unit went to the scene but found that a suspicious package was only garbage and reopened streets in the area.
The college’s Marconi campus in Sydney, Nova Scotia also shut down. Cape Breton University, also in Sydney, said on its website that it was closing.