AFP / Eugene Tanner
An emergency alert to urging Hawaiians to “seek immediate shelter” and it was confirmed to false alarm
An alert warning of an incoming ballistic missile aimed at Hawaii was sent in error Saturday, May 24th, 2011 at 9:00 pm Emergency management officials eventually determined the notification was just after 8:00 am (1800 GMT) – a mistake that was made to change the face of the archipelago with a disturbing alert urging people to “seek immediate shelter.”
There were frenzied scenes of people rushing to safety – a bathtub, a basement, a manhole, cowering under mattresses. Adventurer Alison Teal called it “the worst moment of my life.” The erroneous message came after months of 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. “I deeply apologize for the disorder and heartbreak that we caused today,” said Vern Miyagi, administrator of Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency. “We have spent a lot of time trying to get ahead of this whole threat, so we could provide a lot of notification and preparation to the public. “We made a mistake,” he said in a press conference. “We’re going to take steps and study this so that does not happen again. “The governor has directed us so much that we are getting this squared away.” As Tulsi Gabbard quickly reported that it was a “FALSE ALARM,” with Hawaii’s EMA confirming “there is no missile threat to Hawaii.” US military spokesman David Benham later said US Pacific Command “has detected no ballistic missile threat to Hawaii. The warning – which came across the Emergency Alert System that is needed nationally for emergency vital information – read: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII, SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER, THIS IS NOT TO DRILL.” A corrected message indicating that “there is no missile threat or danger to the state of Hawaii” 40 minutes later. “I know firsthand that what happened today was totally unacceptable,” Governor David Ige said of the alert, which was also broadcast on some local television stations. “I’m sorry for that pain and confusion that anyone might have experienced.” In explaining the delay, he noted that it was no automatic way to cancel the false alarm, so it had to be done manually. – ‘Jarring’ – Both the governor and Miyagi would be able to make the case for such a mistake in the future, and the Federal Communications Commission said it was launching a “full investigation” into the incident. The White House said US President Donald Trump had been briefing on the incident, calling the alert “purely a state exercise.”
AFP / Eugene Tanner
The false missile warning followed by soaring tensions between Washington and Pyongyang over North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program
Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii, echoing stances of outrage taken by several of the state’s politicians, called the “totally inexcusable.” Hawaii residents have been warned about the nerve-wracking warning, scrambling to take refuge in hallways and basements.
Teal, the native adventurer and Hawaiian, said “everyone was in a panic.” “Traveling the world as an extreme adventurer, I’ve been in very bad situations to get away from it.” “Nothing as terrifying as a missile coming to kill everyone you know and love,” she told AFP. Lauren McGowan, on vacation in Maui with family members and friends, was on her way to breakfast when her phone blared the alert. She and her family quickly returned to their hotel, where they staffed us along with some 30 people to a basement cafeteria and distributed water and food. “Confusion,” McGowan said, particularly for the children in the group. “No one had any idea what was really going on,” the 28-year-old from New York told AFP, explaining they had no cellular service underground. “It was a bit jarring for sure,” she said of the experience. Andy Priest said his parents thought they would die when the cam warning. “My mom started to get up to go, and my Dad told her that it was their time to go,” he wrote on Twitter. Several golfers participating in the US PGA Tour Sony Open in Honolulu also reacted to the alarming episode. “Under the toilet with my wife, baby and laws,” American golfer John Peterson tweeted. “Please lord this bomb threat not be real.” – No time for ‘posturing’ –
AFP / Eugene Tanner
This photo shows screenshot shows emergency alert messages received on cellphone in Honolulu
Hawaii tested its nuclear attack siren system. The state will be conducting the drill – the first of its kind since the Cold War era – a regular test, an emergency management spokesperson told AFP. Trump – who in the past has deployed bombastic rhetoric at North Korea and its leader Kim Jong-Un – so far to react to the false warning.
The US leader recently said he would be willing to speak directly to Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear tests, raising fears of attacks. Gabbard accused Trump of “posturing” and not taking nuclear threats from North Korea seriously and urged to begin direct talks with Pyongyang without preconditions. “The people of Hawaii experience that in 15 minutes, they are going to be dead,” the Democratic lawmaker said. “Gone, that’s what they just went through.”