‘The whole state was terrified’: Panic in Hawaii as Civil Defense issues alert for ‘inbound ballistic missile threat’ which told thousands to ‘urgently seek shelter’ then takes 37 MINUTES to say it was a false alarm
- 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
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.
It was caused by an employee at Civil Defense who ‘pushed the wrong buttons’ during a shift handover, Hawaii Governor David Ige said.
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.
When residents saw the alert on Saturday, they immediately feared it was genuine 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.
Civil Defense then started calling the radio and television networks which had just broadcast the same emergency warning to tell them it was a mistake, but it took them another 37 minutes to send out another phone alert.