This morning, Hawaii’s civil defense system issued a warning to residents of an “inbound missile threat.” The text warning was sent out by phone to all of the state’s residents, and an agonizing 37 minutes later, they learned it was a false alarm.
Now, authorities have revealed how such a incredible mistake could have been made, and it will give little solace to those who lived through it.
According to multiple media reports, the missile threat was sent out by an idiotic Civil Defense employee who hit the wrong button while ending his shift and handing his post over to another individual. It is unclear why it took so long for the mistake to be discovered.
To make matters worse, Civil Defense announced it was a mistake 12 minutes later – but only on Twitter. It took 37 minutes for a corrected text message to be sent, giving Hawaii residents an extra 25 minutes of needless terror.
Panic spread through the state of Hawaii on Saturday morning when residents received a phone alert for an ‘inbound ballistic missile threat’ that was accidentally sent out by Civil Defense but which was not corrected for the best part of an hour.
Scores of confused residents tweeted screenshots of the warnings after receiving the alert at 8.07 local time.
It read: ‘BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL’.
A similar message flashed up on local television networks and brought live sports games to a halt.
It was caused by an employee at Civil Defense who ‘pushed the wrong buttons’ during a shift handover.
The mistake was corrected by government agencies on Twitter 12 minutes later but it took 37 minutes for another phone alert to be issued confirming to residents that it was a false alarm. Some say they never received a second phone alert at all.
By the time it was issued, terrified residents and tourists including basketball legend Magic Johnson flocked to shelters and into their garages in fear of a nuclear attack.
When it became clear that it was a false alarm, their panic turned to fury.
‘Imagine this for 37 agonizing minutes before it is deemed a false alarm,’ said one person.
Lawmakers slammed the mistake as ‘inexcusable’ and said ‘the whole state was terrified’.
Another critic said the delay in phone alerts meant that only people with access to social media would have known it was a false alarm straight away.