U.S. officials have issued a statement after Emergency alerts were sent Saturday to Hawaiians warning of a “ballistic missile threat.”
As reported by The Washington Post, shortly after 8 a.m. local time Saturday, several alarmed Hawaii residents began posting screenshots of alerts they had received reading: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”
The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency tweeted at 8:20 a.m. local time that there was no missile threat to the state. The U.S. Navy also confirmed in an email the emergency alerts had been sent in error, the Post reported Saturday.
“USPACOM has detected no ballistic missile threat to Hawaii,” U.S. Navy Commander Dave Benham, a spokesman for U.S. Pacific Command, said in an email. “Earlier message was sent in error. State of Hawaii will send out a correction message as soon as possible.”
According to the report, an additional alert was sent to Hawaii residents at 8:45 a.m. local time, advising them that the first warning had been a false alarm.
“There is no missile threat or danger to the State of Hawaii,” the follow-up alert read, according to screenshots of the message. “Repeat. False Alarm.”
It is unclear how or why the initial alert was sent out, and how many people received it. What was clear was that the first message caused a brief panic, at least on social media, among those who read it and expected the worst.
Today’s alert was a false alarm. At a time of heightened tensions, we need to make sure all information released to the community is accurate. We need to get to the bottom of what happened and make sure it never happens again.
Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono (Hawaii) admonished the wayward message and vowed to investigate how it occurred.
“At a time of heightened tensions, we need to make sure all information released to community is accurate,” Hirono tweeted Saturday. “We need to get to the bottom of what happened and make sure it never happens again.”