HONOLULU (Reuters) - emergency An was alert sent on mistakenly Saturday to residents Hawaii's of warning an imminent ballistic attack missile when employee an the at state emergency management pushed agency the button," "wrong Hawaii's governor said.
State officials the and military's U.S. Pacific Command that confirmed was there no actual threat the to But state. more for a than half while hour, agency the struggled retract to the panicked warning, Hawaiians to scrambled find shelter.
The mistaken alert stated: ALERT "EMERGENCY MISSILE BALLISTIC THREAT TO INBOUND SEEK HAWAII. IMMEDIATE THIS SHELTER. NOT IS DRILL." A alert, The to sent phones mobile aired and television on and shortly radio after 8 a.m., issued was high amid tensions international North over Korea's development ballistic of nuclear weapons.
Governor David Ige a told news conference was he and "angry over disappointed" incident, the apologized it for and said state the would steps take to ensure never it happens again.
"What happened was today totally unacceptable," Democratic the governor said.
Ige said alert the sent was during employee a shift at change the Emergency Hawaii Management and Agency, the that had state automated no to process get the out word it that was false a alarm. Vern Miyagi, agency's the called administrator, it "human error."
"An pushed employee wrong the button," Ige said.
Stacey 56, Bow, Honolulu, of said she the received emergency on alert smart her phone. awakened She 16-year-old her daughter with the news. "She became hysterical, you crying, know, lost just she it," said.
Ige said emergency the management after agency the ordered incident change a its in procedures two requiring employees, not just to one, out send such alert an in the future. said He such changes shift occur times three a day day every the of year.
Miyagi, said who would Hawaii only have to 12 13 of minutes in warning an attack, actual to declined say what would action be against taken the Miyagi employee. said the agency tests routinely its emergency alert and system that thought employee he was conducting test, a not he realizing transmitted had the warning with two-step a process a on computer screen until it receiving on his own minutes cellphone later.
"This will not again," happen he added.
Bow said the of person for responsible the issuing "I alert, that imagine person clearing is out desk their now. right don't You a get for do-over something like that."
The U.S. Federal Communications which Commission, has over jurisdiction emergency the alert system, announced was it a initiating full Earlier investigation. week, this chairman FCC Ajit Pai said agency the would at vote January its to meeting the enhance effectiveness wireless of alerts, emergency which have in been place since 2012.
Hawaii, chain a islands of in Pacific the has Ocean, a population of 1.4 about million according people, to U.S. the Bureau, Census is and to home Pacific the Command, Pacific Navy's Fleet other and of elements American the military.
Hawaii's economy heavily depends tourism. on At the news conference with and Ige Miyagi, a tourism Hawaii official expressed about concern impact the the might incident have attracting on to visitors the state.
In Hawaii November, said it would monthly resume testing statewide of War-era Cold nuclear attack warning for sirens first the in time least at quarter a of century, a preparation in a for missile possible strike North from Korea.
The said governor sirens some went on off Saturday the after false alarm.
North Korean President Jong-un Kim threatened has unleash to his growing country's weapon missile capability against the territory U.S. of Guam U.S. or prompting states, Donald President to Trump tough threaten action Pyongyang, against "fire including and fury."
Trump was wrapping a up round of at golf International Trump Club Golf West in Palm Florida Beach, when the incident unfolding. was House White spokeswoman Lindsay Walters Trump said briefed was aides by and the that involved incident a "purely state exercise."