Reports of an alert about a missile threat to Hawaii ricocheted across social media Saturday and caused anxiety in the state. But authorities said the alert was false and sent as an error.
“U.S. Pacific Command has detected no ballistic missile threat to Hawaii. Earlier message was sent in error. State of Hawaii will send out a correction message as soon possible,” U.S. Pacific Command said in a statement on Twitter. Although USPACOM had explained why the alert was sent, Hawaii Emergency Management Agency had already doused cold water on the alerts. “NO missile threat to Hawaii,” the agency tweeted Saturday afternoon Eastern Time.
Hawaii’s Governor David Ige, who said he was meeting with authorities to determine what caused the alert, said on remarks broadcast on CNN that an employee had pressed the wrong button. “This change in shift routine happens three times a day, seven days a week, 365 days out of the year. For the most part it occurs flawlessly. There was an error today and we will be investigating and changing procedure so that we can avoid this from ever happening again,” Ige said.
Ajit Paj, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, said his organization was launching an investigation into the incident.
According to screenshots, the alert read, “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”
Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said on Twitter the alert was a false alarm, and she had confirmed with officials there was no missile. Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz followed suit, and said it was “a false alarm based on a human error.”
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
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