False ballistic missile threat alert creates panic in US state Hawaii

15 January, 2018, 00:06 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • Kent Nishimura  Getty Images North America

What was meant to be a relaxing family vacation to Maui took a startling turn for Sacramento resident Sage Smith, co-owner of Bike Dog Brewery, Saturday morning after he and other cellphone users throughout Hawaii received a faulty emergency alert warning of a ballistic missile headed their way.

It would take an estimated 40 minutes for the USA military's Pacific Command to retract the warning.

Mobile phone users on Saturday received a message saying: "Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii".

American professional Talor Gooch posted a screenshot of the warning, which was issued on the Emergency Alert System and flashed up on cell phones and televisions across the island state.

‏"If there's anything positive to come out of it, I know my mom is now going to have a plan for this", Zuelke said Saturday afternoon.

About 10 minutes later, Hawaii Emergency Management Agency tweeted that there was no such threat.

Officials in the country quickly ruled out hacking and have said that human error was to blame during a routine test of its systems during a shift change. An employee had pressed the wrong button by mistake. The group was among tens of thousands of people, many of them tourists, whose Hawaiian vacations were plunged into uncertainty by the erroneous alert. So, she grabbed her four children held them close, listened to the news and hoped for the best. Vern Miyagi of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency said, "There is a screen that says are you sure you want to do this?" These shift changes happen three times a day, every day of the year, he added.


"Over a million of Hawaii's people were faced with the immediate reality of having 15 minutes to find a place to "take shelter", wondering where do I go?"

Ajit Pai said in a statement Sunday an FCC investigation is well under way into the alarm that sounded on hundreds of thousands of cellphones across Hawaii. At the news conference with Ige and Miyagi, a Hawaii tourism official expressed concern about the impact the incident might have on attracting visitors to the state.

Footage shows how people in Hawaii were terrified by the false warning of an imminent missile attack by North Korea on Saturday morning.

"AGAIN FALSE ALARM", he wrote in a second tweet. Trump was wrapping up a round of golf at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida when the incident was unfolding.

Ige then said that he was meeting with top defense and emergency management officials from the state "to determine what caused this morning's false alarm and to prevent it from happening again".

"And so we all freaked out", Durkin said.

Trump - who in the past has deployed bombastic rhetoric at North Korea and its leader Kim Jong-Un - had yet to react to the false warning.

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