- People in Hawaii panicked when they got an emergency
alert on their phones warning of an incoming ballistic missile
- Officials quickly confirmed afterward that the alert
was a false alarm and had been sent out by mistake.
People in Hawaii were sent into a panic Saturday morning when
they got an emergency alert on their phones that said, “Ballistic
missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is
not a drill.”
Officials said quickly after that the alert went out by mistake
and was a false alarm.
The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency tweeted, “NO missile
threat to Hawaii.”
Lt. Commander Joe Nawrocki of the North American
Aerospace Defense Command, the agency in charge of providing
aerospace warnings in North America, told BuzzFeed News, “There is
no missile threat. We’re trying to figure out where this came
from or how this started. There is absolutely no incoming
ballistic missile threat to Hawaii right now.”
“My phone’s blowing up right now,” Nawrocki added.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Sen. Brian Schatz, both of whom
represent Hawaii, said on Twitter that alert was a false
“What happened today is totally inexcusable,” Schatz
later added. “The whole state
was terrified. There needs to be tough and quick accountability
and a fixed process.”
The White House deputy press secretary released a statement
saying President Donald Trump had been briefed on the
“This was purely a state exercise,” the statement
Trump was on the golf course at his swanky Florida resort,
Mar-a-Lago, when the situation unfolded.
A Hawaii EMA spokesman also told BuzzFeed News that they
were in the process of sending another message to cancel the
“It was part of a drill that was going on,” they
The second alert went out about 45 minutes
“There is no missile threat or danger to the State of
Hawaii. Repeat. False alarm,” the message said.
Twitter users were in a frenzy after the first alert was
Civil Defense just confirmed that the Ballistic Missle alert to Hawaii was a mistake!!! That is a hell of a mistake to make. #Wow
— Jason Parker (@NutzFordBucks) January 13, 2018
The hotel just figured it was a false alarm. Announced to relieved applause.
— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) January 13, 2018
What just happened in Hawaii is really, really bad. A disastrously wrong warning isn’t just an inconvenience — it’s life-threatening, because people will be less likely to trust future warnings. https://t.co/sbpQisxcE6
— Matt Pearce ? (@mattdpearce) January 13, 2018
Never realized how much I don’t want a push notification to be the last thing I see before I die.
— PJ Vogt (@PJVogt) January 13, 2018
this is way, way more serious than “oh an alert just got sent by mistake” — do not be so cynical as to dismiss the real fear that people felt upon receiving this alert
— Tony Romm (@TonyRomm) January 13, 2018
Hawaii began testing its nuclear warning system in
December, CNN reported. It was the first
time since the Cold War that Hawaii reinstituted the practice,
and it comes as the US sees heightening tensions with North
Korea, which has increased its nuclear aggression in recent