Hawaii alert: False missile alert sparks panic
January 13, 2018 3:23 pm
An incoming missile alert plunged residents of Hawaii into panic on Saturday morning before it was declared to be false.
Mobile phone users received a message saying: “Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.”
Hawaii Emergency Management Agency later confirmed there was no threat.
The alert system is in place because of the potential proximity of Hawaii to North Korean missiles.
In December, the state tested its nuclear warning siren for the first time since the end of the Cold War.
It is still unclear how the initial mistake was made.
‘Full blown panic’
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser says emergency officials mistakenly sent the message out by text, all in capital letters, at 08:07 (18:07 GMT) before correcting the error by email 18 minutes later.
There was no follow-up mobile text until 38 minutes after the original alert, it said.
In a tweet, the state’s Emergency Management Agency (EMA) said simply: “NO missile threat to Hawaii.”