Hawaii missile alert caused by employee pushing ‘wrong button’
This worker really knew how to push Hawaii’s buttons.
The emergency alert about an incoming “ballistic missile threat” that jolted Hawaiians awake Saturday morning was a false alarm caused by someone hitting the “wrong button,” Gov. David Ige said.
“It was a mistake made during a standard procedure at the change over of a shift and an employee pushed the wrong button,” Gov. David Ige told CNN. “ The warning went out to cell phones, television and radio got the emergency alert.”
Terrified residents began tweeting about an alert they received on their cellphones at around 8 a.m. local time.
“Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill,” the alert read.
“Did anyone else’s iPhone just tell them there’s a ballistic missile headed for Hawaii and to take cover immediately?” Twitter user @easytga wrote.
As panic erupted, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard quickly tweeted to debunk the alert.
“HAWAII – THIS IS A FALSE ALARM. THERE IS NO INCOMING MISSILE TO HAWAII. I HAVE CONFIRMED WITH OFFICIALS THERE IS NO INCOMING MISSILE,” she wrote around 12 minutes after the message was sent.
A second alert was sent out at around 8: 45 a.m. local time, letting residents know it was a false alarm.
“There is no missile threat or danger to the State of Hawaii,” the alert read. “Repeat. False Alarm.”
The North American Aerospace Defense Command confirmed to The Post there is no danger.
“There is no threat at this time,” Public Affairs Officer Joe Nawrocki said. “We’re actually trying to figure it out right now. We don’t know if it was a test and someone forgot to put, ‘This is a drill.’
“There is absolutely no incoming ballistic missile threat to Hawaii,” he added.
The alert sent some residents fleeing for their lives.
Patrick and Naomi Guth, who run a stand at a Maui farmer’s market selling juices, left everything behind and drove to their son’s nearby home, believing a missile was headed their way.
Naomi Guth told The Post she felt terror “right here in my gut.”
The couple didn’t find out it was a false alarm until 25 minutes had gone by, Patrick Guth said.
“If it was real, we would have been gone already,” he said.
Their daughter found a silver lining.
“I was happy I watched a YouTube video on how to survive a nuclear attack,” SuLun Novikoff said.
A spokesman for Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency told Buzzfeed News the false alarm “was part of a drill that was going on.”
Ige issued a statement via Twitter at 2:34 pm local time, saying he wanted to “get to the bottom of this so we can prevent an error of this type in the future.”
“While I am thankful this morning’s alert was a false alarm, the public must have confidence in our emergency alert system,” he wrote.
The White House issued a statement on the false alarm, noting President Trump had been briefed on the incident.
“This was purely a state exercise,” the statement read.