Hawaiians received a false alarm on Saturday warning of an inbound ballistic missile and causing instant, widespread panic.
The alert was apparently caused by an employee at Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency pushing the wrong button by accident.
A second alert clarifying that there was no missile threat to Hawaii did not come until 38 minutes after the initial false alarm.
Residents and vacationers in Hawaii awoke Saturday morning to a stunning emergency alert blaring across the screens of their smartphones: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”
There was no missile. The alert was a false alarm, the Hawaii’s US senators said on Twitter as they rushed to tamp down the hysteria that ensued. The alert was sent out when an employee mistakenly pressed the “wrong button” during a shift change at Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency, Hawaii Gov. David Ige later said.
But it was 38 minutes before another alert was sent out, clarifying there was “no missile threat or danger to the State of Hawaii.” In those minutes, people in Hawaii, fearing for their lives, sought shelter and contacted their loved ones.
A news anchor from Houston, Texas, who was in Honolulu, tweeted the series of panicked text messages she had received from friends and family.
“My mom and sister were crying,” she tweeted.
This was my phone when I woke up just now. I’m in Honolulu, #Hawaii and my family is on the North Shore. They were hiding in the garage. My mom and sister were crying. It was a false alarm, but betting a lot of people are shaken. @KPRC2 pic.twitter.com/m6EKxH3QqQ
— Sara Donchey (@KPRC2Sara) January 13, 2018
Matt LoPresti, a state representative, told CNN in an emotional interview that he and his family sheltered in their bathroom after receiving the alert.
“I was sitting in the bathtub with my children, saying our prayers,” he said. “We took it as seriously as a heart attack … I’m extremely angry right now.”
“I was sitting in the bathtub with my children, saying our prayers,” says Hawaii state representative Matt LoPresti in emotional interview after false missile alert https://t.co/8bwIfkceUz https://t.co/1TyuadkNZr
— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) January 13, 2018
He continued: “Why does it take 38 minutes for us to get a false alarm notice? … That’s completely unacceptable.
An MSNBC producer tweeted the text messages she had received from a friend whose relatives had been caught in traffic as the alert went out.
“It was mass chaos people getting out of cars and running and looking at the sky. Other cousin was in the airport and people were sobbing,” one text message read.
A big issue with today’s false alarm: how long it took for an official alert to go out saying it was, in fact , a false alarm.
I received this text from a dear friend describing her family in Hawaii’s experience + how tweets were what revealed there was no real …read more
Source:: Businessinsider – Politics