Advertisement

'This is not a drill': Accidental ballistic missile alert causes panic in Hawaii

'This is not a drill': Accidental ballistic missile alert causes panic in Hawaii
From CBC - January 13, 2018

A push alert that warned of an incoming ballistic missile to Hawaii sent residents into a full-blown panic Saturday until state emergency officials said it was a mistake.

The emergency alert, which was sent to cellphonessaid in all caps, "Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill." The alert also aired on television and radio.

Hawaiian CongresswomanTulsiGabbardtweeted about it, warning it was a false alarm.

The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency also sent a tweet about 10 minutes after the push alert, saying there was no threat.

NO missile threat to Hawaii.

@Hawaii_EMA

But media reports saidabout 38 minutes passed before a new push alert statingthat the original alert was a false alarmwent to cellphones.

The alert was transmittedmistakenly by state authoritiesdue to human error, Hawaii's governor and emergency managementchief said.

Governor David Ige, a Democrat, said onCNNthe alert wassent out by mistake during a shift change at the HawaiiEmergency Management Agency.Ige told reporters someone at the state emergencymanagement agency pushed the "wrong button" during a shiftchange.

Vern Miyagi, the agency's administrator, said in commentsalso aired on CNN, "It was an inadvertent mistake. The change ofshift is about three people. That should have been caught. ...It should not have happened."

Miyagi said there was a "check list" that should have been followed. He said, "I think we have the process in place. It's an matter of executing the process. I think it's human error."

Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatzsaidthe false alarm was "totally inexcusable."

Schatz went on his Twitter account after emergency management officials confirmed the push alert about an incoming missile Saturday was a mistake, calling for accountability and an alert process that is foolproof.

AGAIN FALSE ALARM. What happened today is totally inexcusable. The whole state was terrified. There needs to be tough and quick accountability and a fixed process.

@brianschatz

The alert caused panicon the island and across social media.

Many people were still in bed when the alarm was triggered, including CanadianElain Evans, a Vancouver resident whois staying with friends in a home north of Honolulu, on Oahu.

Canadians in Hawaii tell their stories

She said she and her family gathered essentials and went to hide in a corner of the basement where they'd seen the dog take refuge during NewYears Eve fireworks.

"We figuredthe dog would know best," Evans said. "We hid down there and tried to make phone calls ...the system was jammed with a weird message."

Evans and her family are scheduled to leave Hawaii for Vancouver Saturday evening.

Trying to make sense of it

@PacificCommand

@MSNBC

Advertisement

Continue reading at CBC »