Hawaii – Worker ‘feels terrible’ after starting missile threat by pushing the wrong button

Hawaii Ballistic Missile Threat

The employee who pushed the wrong button and began an inbound ballistic missile alert reportedly feels awful about the mistake. Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency (EMA) confirmed in a news conference on Saturday that the civil defense employee is remorseful.

Rather than triggering a test of the system, the employee placed the system into actual event mode.

Here is what residents of Hawaii saw at approximately 8:07 a.m. on Saturday morning: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”

Vern Miyagi, who oversees the EMA, revealed that in order to trigger the alert, there is a two-step process involving only one employee — who both triggers the alarm, then also confirms it.

Retired Army major general Miyagi said the remorseful employee would be “counseled and drilled so this never happens again,” but stopped short of saying whether or not there would be disciplinary measures taken.

Governor of Hawaii, David Ige, said in a statement on Sunday that the mistake was “an unfortunate situation that has never happened before and will never happen again.”

“On behalf of the State of Hawai’i, I deeply apologize for this false alert that created stress, anxiety and fear of a crisis in our residents and guests,” Ige said.

At 8:20 a.m. local time, Hawaii EMA tweeted that there was “NO missile threat” to the state. But the tweet didn’t reach people who aren’t on the social media platform.

House Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, tweeted at about the same time: “HAWAII – THIS IS A FALSE ALARM. THERE IS NO INCOMING MISSILE TO HAWAII. I HAVE CONFIRMED WITH OFFICIALS THERE IS NO INCOMING MISSILE.”

About 15 minutes later, the U.S. Pacific Command issued a statement, clarifying there was “no ballistic missile threat to Hawaii.”

However, it was not until 38 minutes after the first warning — at 8:45 a.m. — that Hawaii’s EMA alerted mobile devices across the islands that the initial alert was a false alarm.

Representative Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, asked in an interview, “If it was a mistake and someone pushed a button they shouldn’t have pushed, then why the 38 minute delay? The next question is, why don’t we have a better fail-safe?”

At the news conference, Miyagi said that there will now be a two-person rule in place for sending test alerts and actual alerts. He also offered an apology for the stresses resulting from the false alarm.

Senator Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, tweeted that she would work to find out what occurred.

A White House official confirmed that President Trump, who is spending the weekend in Florida, had been briefed on the episode, which they said “was purely a state exercise.”

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