An Aussie couple quarantined aboard a Diamond Princess cruise amid a coronavirus outbreak published a number of posts on Facebook stating they’d been delivered bottles of wine via a drone to pass the time. It was a great, lighthearted story in an otherwise tough week but they’ve since told ABC Radio it was all a prank.
Correction: A previous version of this story by Gizmodo Australia incorrectly stated the couple had received the wine via a drone delivery as their Facebook posts suggested. We regret this error.
Jan and Dave Binskin from Queensland were among the thousands of passengers stuck on the cruise and took to Facebook to conjure up the cheeky prank. The Binskins published a number of posts stating they’d received a shipment via drone from a wine club they were a member of.
At the time of writing, Gizmodo Australia reached out to the Binskins to verify their story and to understand how the couple managed to get their wine delivered to the cruise ship. The couple did not respond to our queries before the time of publish. We regret not verifying this information.
After a NY Post story went viral, a number of other outlets, including our own, picked up the story. A week later on February 18, AFP Fact Check debunked the story after the couple admitted to ABC Radio it was all a prank.
“We got it from our cabin steward,” Jan Binskin told ABC Radio. “We just couldn’t believe that. Because [nobody] ever checked [it], and all of a sudden we knew it was on the news. It was… off our personal Facebook. It was just an upbeat, positive prank… it was like ‘gotcha!'”
The couple are among the Australians evacuated from the cruise ship and, if their Facebook posts are to be believed, they’re in the Howard Springs quarantine facility.
The cruise, operated by Diamond Princess, had been docked off the coast of Yokohama, just south of Tokyo after discovering an outbreak of coronavirus within the ship. There were 3,700 on the ship and according to the BBC, 621 had been confirmed as infected. The cruise company said on February 20 the quarantine disembark had begun and 600 guests had left the ship with none testing positive for coronavirus.
According to the ABC, 164 people aboard the ship were evacuated to Howard Springs quarantine station where they will spend the next two weeks. It’s been confirmed two of the evacuees have tested positive.
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