Posted: 2:11 pm Saturday, January 13th, 2018
By Jamie Dupree
The state of Hawaii was jolted Saturday morning by a warning of an imminent incoming missile attack, which was sent to cell phones, and local television and radio stations, as it took almost 40 minutes for officials to confirm that it was a false alarm.
“What happened today was totally inexcusable,” said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) “The whole state was terrified.”
On television stations in Hawaii, the warning said the “U.S. Pacific Command has detected a missile threat,” and people were urged to take immediate shelter.
Governor David Ige of Hawaii told reporters that it was a mistake during a shift change for state emergency management workers who are in charge of such alerts.
JUST IN: Hawaii Governor David Ige tells CNN that someone "pushed the wrong button" during an employee shift change, sending out the false alert about an incoming ballistic missile https://t.co/FD1vl6fCzh pic.twitter.com/2zhXLApLcr
— CNN (@CNN) January 13, 2018
And this is video from a TV in Hawaii of the moment the EAS alert came on saying a missile was on its way. I can’t even imagine. pic.twitter.com/y3wqXOR67P
— Matt Maisel (@Matt_Maisel) January 13, 2018
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
CNN producer @lorenzaCNN describes receiving the false alarm in Hawaii: “We got alerts on our phone… we opened our sliding glass door to look out onto the beach, we saw probably 10 different families running, not walking, running back to their room.” https://t.co/Ry25OeY38x pic.twitter.com/RPohH8MTkT
— CNN International (@cnni) January 13, 2018
As officials scrambled for answers, they also quickly tried to calm the nerves of residents and tourists.
HAWAII – THIS IS A FALSE ALARM. THERE IS NO INCOMING MISSILE TO HAWAII. I HAVE CONFIRMED WITH OFFICIALS THERE IS NO INCOMING MISSILE. pic.twitter.com/DxfTXIDOQs
— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) January 13, 2018
“U.S. Pacific Command has detected no ballistic missile threat to Hawaii. Earlier message was sent in error,” the military command reported on Twitter. “State of Hawaii will send out a correction message as soon possible.”
“It was a false alarm based on a human error,” Sen. Schatz tweeted.
At the time of the alert, President Donald Trump was at one of his golf courses in Florida; he returned to his Mar-a-Lago retreat soon after it occurred.
White House officials said it was a problem in Hawaii, not from inside the U.S. military.
“The President has been briefed on the state of Hawaii’s emergency management exercise,” said White House Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters. “This was purely a state exercise.”