Hawaii: Probe promised as false missile alert sparks panic

Governor apologises for an accidental imminent attack warning sent out by Hawaii to every mobile phone in the island.

    Hawaii's Governor David Ige has apologised for an accidental message sent out by the state to every mobile phone in the island, warning of an imminent missile attack.

    Ige said on Sunday that the government would investigate the incident, which involved an employee pushing a wrong button during a shift change on Saturday morning.

    "It was a procedure that occurs at the change of shift where they go through to make sure that the system is working and an employee pushed the wrong button," Ige said.

    The mistaken alert read: "Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill."

    It triggered panic among many Hawaiians who scrambled to find shelter.

    "People just started scurrying around, just trying to get into bathrooms, I was with my two girls, eight and 10 so kids were crying and nobody really knew what to do," Robbyn Leventhal, a Hawaii resident, told Al Jazeera.

    Another, Vinicius Pereira, said: "Hawaii is the first place they are going to drop the bomb on. It is crazy. Living here is awesome but at the same time you are not feeling secure all the time."

    The Emergency Management Agency later confirmed on Twitter 10 minutes later that the attack alert was a false alarm.

    But those not on the social media website had to wait 38 minutes to find out it was a mistake.

    "We just went running, we went to this other place, a concrete building, people were just running in the street, they were desperate. It was not funny at all. The guy had one job, right? And he messed up so, that's crazy," said Pereira.

    The incident in the face of an actual threat made the people of Hawaii realise that they might not be ready for the real thing.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


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