Indian Ocean island ‘to smash into Sri Lanka at 1,000km per hour’, says Guardian UK special report.


The day a small Indian Ocean island collided with Sri Lanka at a speed approaching 1,000 km per hour—faster than a modern jetliner—would have been a day to remember.

According to a 1977 report in the Guardian UK, a hugely respected left-wing daily newspaper, the island of San Serriffe was the victim of massive erosive forces that were driving it headlong east.

It would run smack bang into Sri Lanka on January 3, 2011—except, of course, it didn’t. And never would, because the island never existed. It was, in fact, the biggest April Fool’s Day spoof ever created.


Sri Lanka’s own Island newspaper recalls the ‘special report”—which jammed the Guardian’s telephone switchboard for days and, by the way, made a lot of money from advertisers, who were in on the joke.

Says the Island: “The supplement was quite informative, containing articles about the vibrant political history of San Serriffe, its sites of scenic attractions and potential economic opportunities for businesses looking for new territories.

“The then government under General MJ Pica led by the Justified Party, had been formed in May 1971, following an almost bloodless coup overthrowing the government led by General Minion, led by the Aligned Party.”


“However, the piece of news more relevant to us as Sri Lankans is that which featured the most singular characteristic of San Serriffe’s geography: its mobility.

“Due to a constant process of erosion in the east coast, the island was said to move eastwards, leading to a collision with Sri Lanka. In a deeply scientific article, it was stated that the islands will accelerate at first gently and then more rapidly as they approach Sri Lanka.

“Simple calculations based on the present movement of 1,400 metres a year and an exponential acceleration rate, suggest that the island group will hit the coast of Sri Lanka at a velocity of 940 km an hour on January 3, 2011.”

Read more here.

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