An emergency alert was sent early on Saturday (13 January) morning local time to residents of Hawaii that warned of a “ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii”, reports Associated Press. The alert was later clarified to be a false alarm by the Office of Emergency Management.
BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.The fully upper case alert that was sent out
The message caused alarm and panic among residents of the archipelago. There have been warnings in the past that the state could be a target of missile attacks from North Korea.
Around 40 minutes later, a second message went out, saying that the previous message was a false alarm, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaii’s Representative in the United States House of Representatives tweeted out that the alert was a false alarm, which was confirmed a minute later by the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.
NO missile threat to Hawaii.— Hawaii EMA (@Hawaii_EMA) January 13, 2018
It was later reported on CNN – in correspondence with Governor of Hawaii David Ige – that the message was sent out when someone “pushed the wrong button during the shift change that resulted in the message going out to all phones, Radio stations and TV stations in the state.
Residents are not happy with the way things were handled, with some of them criticising the time taken to issue a clarification.