An Irish television station broadcast a news segment about a “mysterious crater” discovered at a local beach, suggesting it could be evidence of a “once-in-a-lifetime cosmic event.”
But the station needed to correct course one day later and reported in a follow-up segment that the so-called “cosmic crater” was just a hole some folks dug in the sand.
Virgin Media News sent a crew to Portmarnock Beach on Wednesday to investigate the findings of “local astrophysics enthusiast” Dave Kennedy.
The science junkie was reportedly “stopped in his tracks” when he came across the roughly 3-by-3-foot circular hole by the waterline.
“Only about a month ago I was watching a documentary from NASA on exactly what you’re looking at behind you, and so when I looked at it and saw how uniform it is,” Kennedy told the outlet. “I knew immediately what I was looking at was an impact site.”
An angular black rock he found in the hole, Kennedy explained, may have been the celestial visitor itself.
“As you can tell by here, there’s a scorch mark on this side here, so that would have been at the angle that it came down at, and it is weighty,” Kennedy said, as the report cut to shots of him demonstrating the rock’s possible flight path then miming out an ensuing blast with his hands.
“I’m not sure of its composition, but we’re definitely gonna have to find out.”
The segment then cuts to Kennedy walking down the beach and gazing contemplatively at the sea while holding his rock, then scenes of excited passersby posing in front of the hole with the rock held between them.
“We’re down here quite a lot, and I’ve never seen anything like this before, so it’s pretty spectacular,” one visitor said.
Later, Kennedy could be seen staring down into the hole as the station noted there had been no confirmation that it was in fact an impact crater, but that he was spending his day reaching out to astronomers “to see if they [could] help him solve the mystery of the crater on the beach.”
The next day, Virgin Media — somewhat sheepishly — reported that the riddle had been solved, “denting the hopes of a local space enthusiast.”
“Footage emerged last night of two men digging a hole on Portmarnock Beach,” an anchor said, running a clip of two men digging on the beach, armed with green plastic shovels.
She explained Kennedy was “disappointed” by the revelation, but that he would still have his rock analyzed “in the hopes that it wasn’t a completely fruitless discovery.”
“It is in fact not a cosmic event instead it was dug out the day before by 2 lads with a beach spade,” reads a fact-checking notation since added to Virgin Media’s original broadcast posted to X.
Those two lads, Dubliners Charlie Wallace and Peter Mc Evoy, didn’t respond to requests for comment at the time of publication.
It is unclear if the pair intended the hole to be a hoax, but they did appear to be having a gas about the situation.
“Hahahahahahahaha” Wallace wrote on Instagram.