HAWAII ALERT False Alarm Sparks Missle At­tack Panic

Gover­nor ad­mits em­ployee hit ‘wrong but­ton’

Fiji Sun - - World News -

An emer­gency alert was sent mis­tak­enly to Hawaii’s res­i­dents warn­ing of an im­mi­nent bal­lis­tic mis­sile at­tack when an em­ployee at the state emer­gency man­age­ment agency pushed the “wrong but­ton,” ac­cord­ing to Hawaii’s Gover­nor.

State of­fi­cials and the United States mil­i­tary’s Pa­cific Com­mand con­firmed there was no ac­tual threat to the state.

The mistaken alert, which trig­gered panic among many Hawai­ians who scram­bled to find shel­ter, stated: “EMER­GENCY ALERT BAL­LIS­TIC MIS­SILE THREAT IN­BOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IM­ME­DI­ATE SHEL­TER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” The alert, sent to mo­bile phones and aired on tele­vi­sion and ra­dio, was of­fi­cially can­celled about 38 min­utes after it was sent.

The in­ci­dent oc­curred amid high ten­sions in­ter­na­tion­ally over North Korea’s devel­op­ment of a bal­lis­tic nu­clear weapon.

Pearl Har­bor naval base is in Hawaii and is the head­quar­ters of the United States Pa­cific Fleet. Gover­nor David Ige, who apol­o­gised for the mis­take, said the alert was sent dur­ing an em­ployee shift change at the Hawaii Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency.

“It was a pro­ce­dure that oc­curs at the change of shift where they go through to make sure that the sys­tem, that it’s work­ing. And an em­ployee pushed the wrong but­ton,” he said, adding that such shift changes oc­cur three times a day ev­ery day of the year,” he said.

“I was awak­ened by the alert like every­one else here in the state of Hawaii. It was un­for­tu­nate and re­gret­table.

“We will be look­ing at how we can im­prove the pro­ce­dures so it doesn’t hap­pen again.”

Hawaii Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency ad­min­is­tra­tor Vern Miyagi called it “hu­man er­ror”.

“It was an in­ad­ver­tent mis­take. That should have been caught. It should not have hap­pened,” he said.

Gover­nor David Ige.

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