Hawaii sends 'ballistic missile threat' message by mistake - Macleans.ca

Hawaii sends ‘ballistic missile threat’ message by mistake

Hawaii officials said the message was a false alarm caused by someone hitting the wrong button

by

On Saturday, Hawaii residents reported an alarming alert pushed to their cell phones just before 8:10 a.m., sending the state into a full-blown panic.

 

 

 

 

Minutes later, the notification was confirmed via Twitter as a false alarm, first by a Hawaii Congresswoman, then by other officials. The incident also prompted defence agencies, including the Pentagon and the U.S. Pacific Command, to issue a statement that they had “detected no ballistic missile threat to Hawaii.”

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Kucharek, spokesman for the North American Aerospace Defence Command in Colorado Springs, Colorado, said NORAD and the U.S. Northern Command are still trying to verify what happened in Hawaii—but that “NORAD did not see anything that indicated any sort of threat to Hawaii.”

It took nearly 40 minutes for another push notification to be sent out notifying people about the error.

 

 

Hawaii senator Brian Schatz said the false alarm happened due to “human error.”

 

 

Hawaii’s governor also vowed to get to the bottom of what happened.

 

 

In a conciliatory news conference later in the day, Hawaii officials apologized for the mistake and vowed to ensure it will never happen again.

Hawaii Emergency Management Agency Administrator Vern Miyagi said the error happened when someone hit the wrong button.

“We made a mistake,” said Miyagi.

Questions still remain about what implications of a notification like this could have at a time when nuclear tensions are high.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The White House said President Donald Trump, at his private club in Florida, was briefed on the false alert. White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said it “was purely a state exercise.”

In his first public comments since the false alarm, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted a criticism of the media and appeared to lash out at Fire and Fury writer Michael Wolff, calling him a “deranged author.” Trump didn’t mention the situation in Hawaii.

 

 

—With files from The Associated Press

 

MORE ABOUT NUCLEAR WEAPONS: