Hawaii : Hawaii officials confirmed a cell phone alert warning of an incoming ballistic missile was a “false alarm”, but not before the ominous message unnerved residents and stirred confusion across the US state.
The emergency alert urging Hawaiians to “seek immediate shelter” came after months of soaring tensions between Washington and Pyongyang, with North Korea saying it has successfully tested ballistic missiles that could deliver atomic warheads to the United States, including the chain of volcanic islands.
“There is NO missile threat to Hawaii,” the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency quickly tweeted, as social media ignited with screenshots of the cell phone emergency warning.
US military spokesman David Benham said US Pacific Command “has detected no ballistic missile threat to Hawaii. Earlier message was sent in error.”
The warning — which came across the Emergency Alert System that authorities nationwide use to delivery vital emergency information — read: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”
A corrected message indicating that “there is no missile threat or danger to the state of Hawaii” was not dispatched to phones until nearly 40 minutes later.
Governor David Ige was to meet with Defense Department senior officials and the state`s EMA to pinpoint why the erroneous message, which was also broadcast on some local television stations, was sent.