Panic in Hawaii as Civil Defense accidentally issues alert for ‘inbound ballistic missile threat’ which told thousands to ‘urgently seek shelter.
The alert was written all in block capitals, read: ‘BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL’.
After an emergency alert of a ballistic missile threat left people “crying and screaming” in Hawaii on Saturday, the state’s officials said the message was sent in error.
The alert, which was sent to people’s cell phones and appeared on TVs, stated there was a threat “inbound to Hawaii,” urged residents to seek shelter and said that “this is not a drill.”
Hawaii Emergency Management Agency tweeted shortly after the alert was sent: “NO missile threat to Hawaii.”
And Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard tweeted a screenshot of the alert on her phone with a clarification that it was a false alarm: “HAWAII – THIS IS A FALSE ALARM. THERE IS NO INCOMING MISSILE TO HAWAII. I HAVE CONFIRMED WITH OFFICIALS THERE IS NO INCOMING MISSILE.”
California resident Elizabeth Fong is in Hawaii looking to buy a house and received the alert.
The aftermath of the false alert was “crazy,” she told NBC Bay Area, and prompted people to run around on the streets, wondering what to do.
“I prayed to God and asked for forgiveness of my sins and for Him to protect us,” she said, adding that people are still very shaken up.
Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz told NBC News that “human error” triggered the false alert.
“There is nothing more important to Hawai‘i than professionalizing and fool-proofing this process,” he said.
“At a time of heightened tensions, we need to make sure all information released to community is accurate. We need to get to the bottom of what happened and make sure it never happens again,” said Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono