Residents in Hawaii Panic After Inbound Ballistic Missile Threat Issued
Panic spread through the state of Hawaii on Saturday morning when residents received a phone alert for an ‘inbound ballistic missile threat.’
According to media reports, the alert was not immediately corrected leaving residents scrambling for their safety for about one hour. The news of the ballistic missile threat was spread via social media, which contributed to the panic.
The alert was sent at 8.07 local time. It read: ‘ Deltasone tablets 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.
David Ige, Governor of the Aloha state issued a statement saying that the incident was caused by an employee at Civil Defense who ‘pushed the wrong buttons’ while performing a a test of the ballistic missile checklist, during a shift change.
Hawaii Emergency Management Agency Administrator Vern Miyagi reported that the individual went so far as to click through a second message, intended as a safeguard, that asked whether the alert should go out.
The mistake was corrected by government agencies on Twitter 12 minutes later but it took 37 minutes for another phone alert to be issued confirming to residents that it was a false alarm.
Despite reports, some say they never received a second phone alert at all.
In response to the false report, residents and tourist flocked to area shelters in fear of a nuclear attack.
The testing process was suspended and the individual responsible for the incident, as well as his coworkers, would undergo retraining but would not be fired, Miyagi said.