Oops: Hawaii Missile Alert Is a False Alarm [Updated]

The Associated Press reports: “Hawaii officials mistakenly warn of inbound missile.”

Hawaii emergency management officials say a push alert that warned of an incoming ballistic missile to Hawaii on Saturday was a mistake.

The emergency alert sent to cellphones said in all caps, “Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.”

Hawaii Emergency Management Agency spokesman Richard Repoza says it’s a false alarm.

That’s quite a mistake! The AP says that officials are investigating what happened, as the false alarm “stirred panic for residents on the island and across social media.”

This evidently was like those missing children alerts that show up on your cell phone. Was it pushed out to every cell phone in Hawaii? The AP story is not clear. But no doubt it did “stir panic,” as Hawaiians must have immediately started thinking about North Korea. It will be interesting to find out what caused the “mistake.”

UPDATE: Hawaiian authorities are saying that someone “pressed the wrong button.” The WTF factor here is off the charts. I find it hard to believe that some Hawaii agency has a pre-set “button” that sends a ballistic missile warning to everyone with a cell phone. Do they have a row of buttons with different warnings? “TSUNAMI ON THE WAY! FLEE THE BEACH! THIS IS NOT A TEST!” “EARTHQUAKE ALERT! TAKE SHELTER!” “VOLCANO ERUPTION WARNING! FLEE!” It seems like there must be more to this than someone “hitting the wrong button.”

There is also the fact that it took 30 to 40 minutes for state authorities to send out a correction. This seems incompatible with the “wrong button” scenario. No doubt the facts will come out in time. Meanwhile, the reference to accidentally hitting the wrong button reminds me of this: