‘Is this the end of my life?’: In Hawaii, false mis­sile alert causes mad scram­ble

The Buffalo News - - FRONT PAGE - By Amy B Wang, Dan Lamothe and Greg Miller

For 38 har­row­ing min­utes, res­i­dents and tourists in Hawaii were left to be­lieve that mis­siles were stream­ing across the sky to­ward the Pa­cific is­land chain af­ter an er­ro­neous alert Satur­day morn­ing by the state’s emer­gency man­age­ment agency.

The episode un­der­scored the al­ready height­ened level of anx­i­ety at the western edge of the United States amid mount­ing ten­sions with North Korea over its nu­clear arse­nal and the men­ac­ing so­cial me­dia ex­changes be­tween Pres­i­dent Trump and its leader, Kim Jong Un.

“Bal­lis­tic mis­sile threat in­bound to Hawaii,” warned an 8:07 a.m. mes­sage trans­mit­ted across the state’s cell­phone net­works. “Seek im­me­di­ate shel­ter. This is not a drill.”

Only af­ter an in­ex­pli­ca­ble de­lay by the state agency – dur­ing which res­i­dents scram­bled to seek shel­ter and con­tact rel­a­tives – was a sub­se­quent mes­sage sent de­scrib­ing the mis­sile warn­ing as a “false alarm.”

The fright­en­ing mis­take, which Demo­cratic Gov. David Ige later at­trib­uted to a state em­ployee’s er­rant push of a but­ton, prompted out­rage and calls for an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into how such an er­ror could oc­cur and take so long to cor­rect.

On the is­land of Oahu, Adam Kurtz of Palolo woke up four min-

Getty Images

A screen shot taken by Hawai­ian ci­ti­zen Ali­son Teal shows the alert on her mo­bile phone Satur­day.

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