‘I am dev­as­tated,’ says Hawaii missile alert man

The Sunday Telegraph - - World news - By Our For­eign Staff

A FOR­MER Hawaii state worker who sent a false missile alert last month said he is dev­as­tated about caus­ing panic but was “100 per cent sure” at the time that the at­tack was real.

The man in his fifties, who didn’t want to be named be­cause he fears for his safety, says an on-duty call that came in on Jan 13 did not sound like a drill. How­ever, state of­fi­cials say other work­ers clearly heard the word “ex­er­cise” re­peated sev­eral times. “Im­me­di­ately after­ward, we find out it was a drill and I was dev­as­tated. I still feel very badly about it,” he said. “I felt sick after­ward. It was like a body blow.”

The Hawaii Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency fired him af­ter the in­ci­dent.

The man said he didn’t hear the be­gin­ning of the mes­sage that said: “Ex­er­cise, ex­er­cise, ex­er­cise.”

It took nearly 40 min­utes for the agency to fig­ure out a way to re­tract the false alert.

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