A glitch in T-Mobile’s system has led to thousands of “ghost calls” from users into the 911 system in a major American city, with some saying the phenomenon could have already led to the death of a 6-month-old.
According to KTVT-TV, the city of Dallas reported that T-Mobile phones were spontaneously calling 911, inundating the system with calls. At one point on Saturday, 422 calls were on hold and wait times were up to 30 to 40 minutes before talking to an operator.
T-Mobile has sent engineers to Dallas to deal with the problem. But for 6-month-old Brandon Alex, those engineers arrived too late.
According to WFAA-TV, Alex was with a babysitter Saturday when Brandon fell off of a day bed. He was unconscious and barely breathing.
The boy’s mother, Bridget Alex, was at her nephew’s funeral. She’d left her son with her best friend, who often babysat for her.
“I said, ‘Why couldn’t you call 911?’” Alex said. “She said, ‘I am calling 911. They are not answering their phones.’”
The problem involved a glitch that causes T-Mobile phones to create “ghost calls” when their users make a 911 call, according to WFAA. Those calls then have to be weeded out from legitimate emergency calls, dramatically reducing the department’s ability to respond to emergencies.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings told the local CBS station that the problem affected all callers, but T-Mobile users would feel the worst impact.
“If you’ve got a T-Mobile phone service be very, very careful because you may not be able to get into 911,” he said.
T-Mobile has sent a team of top engineers to Dallas to fix the system error. That’s too late for Bridget Alex’s son, though.
“The doctor came and he was like, ‘We tried, and he just never woke up,’” she said. Her infant was pronounced dead at 7:48 p.m. on Saturday night.
“I lost my 6-month-old because 911 did not respond,” she said. “There’s no excuse that you can give me to take that pain away.”
“I need to know why my son of six months is gone,” she added. “That’s what I want to know. It should have been fixed by now. This is ridiculous.”
“This is an unacceptable situation and the citizens of Dallas deserve better,” said Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax. “With (T-Mobile CEO) Mr. Legere’s commitment today, I’m hopeful T-Mobile can continue to work with the City of Dallas to finally resolve this situation so that we have a reliable 911 system that can properly serve the emergency needs of our citizens.”
You can see local coverage here:
So, just a word of advice for residents of Dallas: If you have an emergency, be sure to have a backup plan. You don’t know what may happen.
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