The alert was issued to residents’ phones at 8.07am on Saturday morning
It told them to seek shelter and warned of an ‘inbound ballistic missile threat’
It took 38 minutes for a second phone alert to be issued across the state
By then, terrified residents had flocked to shelters and into their garages
Civil Defense employee accidentally hit alert, was unaware until his phone got it
An FCC investigation into the incident is underway, officials said
By KEITH GRIFFITH and JENNIFER SMITH
13 January 2018
A Civil Defense employee is set to be retrained after a shocking blunder on Saturday morning, when a mistaken alert warning of an inbound ballistic missile sent thousands fleeing for shelter.
The false alarm was caused by a Hawaii Emergency Management Agency employee who ‘pushed the wrong buttons’ during an internal drill timed to coincide with a shift handover at 8.07am. The all-clear phone alert was not sent until 38 minutes later.
Incredibly, officials said the employee who made the mistake wasn’t aware of it until mobile phones in the command center began displaying the alert.
‘This guy feels bad, right. He’s not doing this on purpose – it was a mistake on his part and he feels terrible about it,’ said EMA Administrator Vern Miyagi in a press conference Saturday afternoon.
Miyagi, a retired Army major general, said the employee had been with the agency for ‘a while’ and that he would be ‘counseled and drilled so this never happens again’ – but stopped short of saying whether there would be disciplinary measures.
Hawaii Governor David Ige apologized at the press conference: ‘I am sorry for the pain and confusion it caused. I, too, am extremely upset about this and am doing everything I can do to immediately improve our emergency management systems, procedures and staffing.’
Panicked Hawaiians ran for their lives and even lowered loved ones through manhole covers after receiving this alert at 8.07am local time: ‘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. Actor Jim Carrey, like many others, said he woke up thinking he had ‘ten minutes to live’.
Source: ‘He feels really bad’: Civil Defense employee who sparked terror in Hawaii by accidentally triggering ballistic MISSILE warning will be ‘retrained’ say officials after thousands fled to bomb shelters