False Incoming Missile Alert Sends People in Hawaii in to a Panic

  • January 17, 2018

On Saturday, January 13th, an alert was sent to all cell phone users in Hawaii at around 8:10 A.M. The alert read, “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” Across the state, people panicked as they attempted to figure out what to do and where to go.

Thirty eight minutes after the alert was sent out, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency revoked it.

Officials reported that the mistake was caused by someone pushing the wrong button on a computer. According to Richard Rapoza, a spokesperson for the agency, “The mistake occurred during a shift-change drill that takes place three times a day at the emergency command post.”

According to the New York Times, “A new procedure was instituted Saturday requiring two people to sign off before any such alert is sent.”

The FCC stated that it started an investigation regarding the false missile warning.

Governor David Y. Ige said that, “Many in our community were deeply affected by this. I am sorry for that pain and confusion that anyone might have experienced.”

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