MONTREAL (AFP) - A major telecom outage triggered a disruption of flights and emergency services as Canada's Atlantic region reeled from a widespread loss of cellphone coverage.
A system failure reported by two telecom operators, Bell and Telus, led to widespread service outage in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island in the east of the country.
The failure caused problems for airlines Air Canada and WestJet, whose passenger check-in services use the affected network, leading to long lines in some airports.
At Halifax airport in Nova Scotia, around 20 flights were delayed or cancelled, and a dozen other airports - including Moncton, St John's and Charlottetown - reported significant disruptions to their services.
"A service outage is affecting some regions in the Atlantic provinces. Our teams are working to re-establish service as soon as possible," Bell Canada said in a statement posted on Twitter.
Telus partially depends on Bell's infrastructure in the afflicted region.
The outage, reportedly caused by damage to a cable, was affecting cell phone networks, internet and television services and telephone landlines, the operators said.
Emergency services were also hit in Nova Scotia, with 911 lines not working in some areas. Police advised the population to use their general station numbers to contact them in case of emergency.
The provincial government of Halifax asked all ambulance and fire crews to remain at their posts to be ready in case of emergencies until the problem had been resolved.