Hawaii startled by false alarm of imminent missile attack

John Aaron and his wife woke up on their honeymoon in Hawaii this morning to a startling alert: A ballistic missile attack was imminent.

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The emergency alert was blasted over the hotel’s public address system and sent to people’s mobile phones across Hawaii just after 8 a.m. local time. The message that appeared on phones read in all caps, “Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.”

Aaron and his wife immediately grabbed their belongings and left their hotel room in picturesque Maui in search for a safe place. Everyone else around them was doing the same.

“A very chaotic and nerve-wracking scene,” said Aaron, a reporter for ABC affiliate WTOP in Washington, D.C. “Some people were crying, a lot of people were frantic.”

The newlyweds eventually took shelter in a hotel supply room, where they waited to receive more information.

Obtained by ABC News
A mistaken alert went out Saturday warning of a missile headed toward Hawaii, Jan. 13, 2018.

The alert also rattled Hawaii residents Diane Cluxton and her husband, who were grocery shopping together on the Big Island when they received the emergency alert.

“My husband got it at the same time and then all of a sudden you heard all these “What?” throughout the store, because everybody was receiving it all at the same time,” Cluxton told ABC News. “One person actually sought shelter in a doorway waiting for some other notification, so it definitely looked like everybody received the alert.”

David Bowen
Messages correcting false emergency alert in Hawaii were broadcast on TV as well as sent to cellphones, Jan. 13, 2018.

Correction messages were later sent out to mobile phones and read on PA systems in Hawaii. Television broadcast the correction via a scrolling red banner that read in part, “There is no missile threat or danger to the State…

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