Hawaii Emergency Management officials sent out a text alert to every cellphone at 0808 local time Saturday morning, which caused an immediate panic across the Islands. The all caps alert read, “Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.”
Only it was a drill. Or a mistake sent in “error,” or a “test,” depending on who you talk to over there. Shades of War of the Worlds. Only instead of Martians sending spaceships that caused major panic, this time it was a possible ballistic missile from North Korea. And it took Hawaii’s OEM several minutes to tell people that it wasn’t a missile attack.
Hawaii’s Emergency Management officials seemingly malfunctioned and they are “investigating” how it happened. The alert was sent to all cellphones at 0808 a.m. Even their response is in question, with some news outlets saying 13 minutes, others saying 40 minutes, or longer.
Regardless of who’s to blame, or how it happened, one thing is clear: the residents and tourists in Hawaii were given a very rude wakeup call this morning.
On Oahu with the family for vacation. All our phones just got pinged with an alert for a Ballistic Missile incoming to Hawaii. Finished with “This is not a drill”. The resort is in shambles.
— Ted Davis (@TedDavisFAP) January 13, 2018
EMA officials now saying on TV that the alert sent to people in Hawaii that said a “ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii … this is not a drill” was actually a drill pic.twitter.com/2osOKDrzKa
— Michelle Broder Van Dyke (@michellebvd) January 13, 2018
Hawaii emergency management officials say a cellphone push alert that warned of an incoming ballistic missile was a mistake. https://t.co/QgAvG55vYC
— The Associated Press (@AP) January 13, 2018
Breaking News: No one is bombing Hawaii. An emergency alert saying a ballistic missile was heading toward the state caused panic. But it was a false alarm. https://t.co/Q9xaWlY9uX
— The New York Times (@nytimes) January 13, 2018
JUST IN: Officials say an alert sent to people in Hawaii about an imminent ballistic missile strike was only a test.
— CNN (@CNN) January 13, 2018
It took nearly 40 minutes for residents of Hawaii to receive a second alert informing them that a ballistic missile was not incoming.
— Trey Yingst (@TreyYingst) January 13, 2018
So this emergency alert message was sent to phones all around the hawaii area and it turned out to be “just a mistake.” To me a mistake is getting the license plate one digit off on an amber alert and quickly fixing it not a freaking ballistic missile launch alert oh my god. pic.twitter.com/cljjoSyDlQ
— RyansAverageLife (@RyanAbe) January 13, 2018
Civil Defense just confirmed that the Ballistic Missle alert to Hawaii was a mistake!!! That is a hell of a mistake to make. #Wow
— Jason Parker (@NutzFordBucks) January 13, 2018