- A false alarm was broadcast to Hawaii on Saturday warning of an inbound ballistic missile, causing widespread panic.
- Officials quickly confirmed afterward that the alert was a false alarm and had been sent out by mistake.
- Hawaii Gov. David Ige said the alert was caused by an employee pushing the wrong button by accident.
Hawaii Gov. David Ige said Saturday that a false alarm warning the entire state of an inbound ballistic missile earlier that day occurred because someone accidentally “pressed the wrong button” during an employee shift change.
“It was a mistake made during a standard procedure at the change over of a shift, and an employee pushed the wrong button,” Ige told CNN.
The false alarm was blasted to residents around 8 a.m. local time through their cellphones and on television and radio networks. The alarm caused widespread panic and chaos, after it directed residents to seek immediate shelter and warned “THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”
Ige said the employee shift changeovers at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency occur three times per day, every day. He added that officials will investigate and ensure a similar error never happens again.
“For the most part it occurs flawlessly,” Ige said. “There was an error today, and we will be investigating and changing procedures so that we can avoid this from ever happening again.”