Hawaii officials mistakenly warn of inbound missile
HONOLULU — Hawaii emergency management officials say a push alert that warned of an incoming ballistic missile to Hawaii on Saturday was a mistake.
The emergency alert sent to cellphones said in all caps, “Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.”
The false alarm was issued on several different platforms as many citizens reported receiving not only text messages of the warning but also receiving warnings on Hawaiian television.
Hawaii Emergency Management Agency spokesman Richard Repoza says it was a false alarm.
He says the agency is trying to determine what happened as the alert stirred panic for residents on the island and across social media.
The Hawaii Emergancy Management Agency twitter account also tweeted that the alarm was a mistake.
NO missile threat to Hawaii.
— Hawaii EMA (@Hawaii_EMA) January 13, 2018
Sources are citing “human error” as the culprit for the false alarm. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) sent this tweet out explaining the reason behind the false alarm.
There is no missile threat. It was a false alarm based on a human error. There is nothing more important to Hawai‘i than professionalizing and fool-proofing this process.
— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) January 13, 2018
Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) tweeted the need to for due diligence before determining what really went wrong.
Today’s alert was a false alarm. At a time of heightened tensions, we need to make sure all information released to the community is accurate. We need to get to the bottom of what happened and make sure it never happens again.
— Senator Mazie Hirono (@maziehirono) January 13, 2018
Others on twitter have blamed hackers and some reports have said that a scheduled test of the alert system went wrong and caused the panic.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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