- A false alarm was pushed to phones in Hawaii Saturday morning that said a ballistic missile was “inbound.”
- It took more than 30 minutes for authorities to correct the mistake and issue a new alert.
- Hawaii Governor David Ige said somebody “pushed the wrong button.”
Panic and confusion in Hawaii lasted more than half an hour Saturday morning, after an alert was pushed to people’s phones warning of an incoming “ballistic missile threat.”
The governor said it happened when an employee pushed the wrong button during a shift change. But the false alarm sparked outrage from local politicians, as it took more than half an hour to correct.
Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz told CNN he was “quite angry” about the incident. He also told CBS News “we’re taking a deep breath knowing that it was a false alarm,” but added on Twitter that the mistake was “totally inexcusable,” and the whole state had been terrified.
Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono backed up the idea on Twitter, saying “at a time of heightened tensions, we need to make sure all information released to the community is accurate.”
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard also took to CNN after the incident to say said she was concerned about what might’ve happened to people on the islands if it hadn’t been a false alarm. She added that people would only have about 15 minutes to take shelter if a nuclear weapon was launched from North Korea towards the Aloha state.
“There are no nuclear shelters for people to go running to within 15 minutes. Where do they go? What do they do?” Gabbard said.
Kaniela Ing, a state representative who’s running for US Congress in Honolulu, said the accident prompted chaos across the state, as hospital workers tried to move patients swiftly to safety.
“My friend’s mum called her crying saying goodbye. My other friend was huddled downstairs with her toddlers. This is not OK,” Ing wrote on Twitter.
The White House said President Donald Trump, who is in Florida, was briefed on what happened, adding that the mistake was “purely a state exercise.” Hawaii Gov. David Ige said he’d be meeting with officials to ensure something like this didn’t happen again.