Hawaii receives ‘ballistic missile threat’ warning

January 13th, 20187:51 pm @

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  • The alert was issued to residents’ phones at 8.07am on Saturday morning
  • It told them to seek shelter and warned of an ‘inbound ballistic missile threat’ 
  • Residents called Civil Defense in a panic and were told it was a mistake 
  • Despite government agencies tweeting that it was a mistake, it took 37 minutes for another alert to be issued  
  • Officials have since confirmed the mistake and said it was caused by ‘human error’ 
  • One person said they were told that ‘someone pushed the wrong buttons’ during an emergency systems drill  

Jennifer Smith For Dailymail.com

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Panic spread through the state of Hawaii on Saturday morning when residents received a phone alert for an ‘inbound ballistic missile threat’ that was accidentally sent out by Civil Defense but which was not corrected for the best part of an hour. 

Scores of confused residents tweeted screenshots of the warnings after receiving the alert at 8.07 local time. 

It read: ‘BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL’.

A similar message flashed up on local television networks and brought live sports games to a halt.  

Hawaii falls within the range of the intercontinental ballistic missiles that North Korea have been testing in recent months as tensions between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un flare. 

Immediately, frightened residents took it at face value and began calling 911 to ask where they should go. 

Within 12 minutes, the state’s Emergency Management Agency tweeted that it was a false alarm and local politicians confirmed the mistake as well. 

It however took another 37 minutes for Civil Defense to send out another phone alert.  

Residents of Hawaii are furiously asking why it took officials a whole 37 minutes to correct a missile threat warning that was sent out on Saturday morning, sparking panic across the state 

Residents of Hawaii are furiously asking why it took officials a whole 37 minutes to correct a missile threat warning that was sent out on Saturday morning, sparking panic across the state 

This was the alert which was issued among residents at 8.08am, sparking hysteria and panic

This was the alert which was issued among residents at 8.08am, sparking hysteria and panic

Residents took the alert on face value and frantically reposted it on social media 

Residents took the alert on face value and frantically reposted it on social media 

That one, which residents received at 8.45am, read: ‘There is no missile threat or danger to the State of Hawaii. Repeat. False Alarm.’ 

Panic was quickly replaced by fury when residents realized the delay.  

‘Imagine this for 37 agonizing minutes before it is deemed a false alarm,’ said one person. 

Lawmakers slammed the mistake as ‘inexcusable’ and said ‘the whole state was terrified’. 

Another critic said the delay in phone alerts meant that only people with access to social media would have known it was a false alarm straight away.

It took until 8.45am to state it was a false alarm. 37 minutes where anyone in Hawaii who doesn’t sit on Twitter dot com all day thought their island might be incinerated.

‘Fire people. Fix it,’ one outraged commentator said.  

Calls from frightened residents inundated Civil Defense immediately asking for more information or advice.

People who say they got through to the office were then told it was a mistake that was caused by an employee who ‘pushed the wrong buttons’ during a drill. 

The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency tweeted this out, 12 minutes after the threat was issued to confirm the error. This post was made at 8.20am local time, 1.20pm EST

The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency tweeted this out, 12 minutes after the threat was issued to confirm the error. This post was made at 8.20am local time, 1.20pm EST

One woman called 911 in panic and said she was told by the operator that staff were performing a drill when ‘someone pushed the wrong buttons’. 

‘Called 911…Operator said it’s a drill of Civil Defense Emergency System but someone pushed the wrong buttons..

‘No missile is headed toward the State of Hawaii REPEAT….NO MISSILE IS HEADED TOWARD THE STATE OF HAWAII.’ 

The Civil Defense phone lines were consistently busy on Saturday and the Department of Defense has not responses to questions on the matter. 

The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency tweeted 12 minutes after the alert was issued to say it was a false alarm. 

The state’s governor David Ige quickly retweeted the post as did other lawmakers.  

Residents were furious about the 37 minute delay which meant that 'anyone who doesn't sit on Twitter' was unaware that it was a false alarm for the best part of an hour 

Residents were furious about the 37 minute delay which meant that ‘anyone who doesn’t sit on Twitter’ was unaware that it was a false alarm for the best part of an hour 

Some described the delay as 'agonizing' - particularly in a state which is one of the most vulnerable to any nuclear threat from North Korea 

Some described the delay as ‘agonizing’ – particularly in a state which is one of the most vulnerable to any nuclear threat from North Korea 

Hawaii is within the range of the latest intercontinental ballistic missiles that North Korea has been testing. It, along with Alaska, are the most vulnerable states to a threat 

Hawaii is within the range of the latest intercontinental ballistic missiles that North Korea has been testing. It, along with Alaska, are the most vulnerable states to a threat 

They vowed to get to the bottom of how such a colossal error was made.

‘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,’ Senator Brian Schatz tweeted. 

He went on: ‘What happened today is totally inexcusable. 

‘The whole state was terrified. There needs to be tough and quick accountability and a fixed process.’  

Senators Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz said the mistake was caused by 'human error'. They slammed it as being 'inexcusable' given the rising tensions between the US and North Korea

Senators Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz said the mistake was caused by ‘human error’. They slammed it as being ‘inexcusable’ given the rising tensions between the US and North Korea


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