Imagine being a Hawaii citizen and seeing THIS pop up on your phone?
Residents of Hawaii were thrown into a panic Saturday morning after an emergency alert was sent warning of a ballistic missile threat. But officials said minutes later it was a “false alarm.”
“NO missile threat to Hawaii,” the state’s Emergency Management Agency tweeted at 8:20 local time (1:20 ET).
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, who also tweeted “there is no incoming missile to Hawaii,” questioned how such an alert could have been sent out by mistake and why it took several minutes before it was corrected, adding that it triggered feelings of terror for no reason.
“What my family went through and what so many families in Hawaii just went through is a true realization that they have 15 minutes to seek some form of shelter or else they’re dead — gone,” she told MSNBC.
HAWAII – THIS IS A FALSE ALARM. THERE IS NO INCOMING MISSILE TO HAWAII. I HAVE CONFIRMED WITH OFFICIALS THERE IS NO INCOMING MISSILE. pic.twitter.com/DxfTXIDOQs
— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) January 13, 2018
A White House official said President Donald Trump was briefed on the incident, and that it was “purely a state exercise” by Hawaii.
The city and county of Honolulu and U.S. Pacific Command put out statements calling the warning an “error.”
“USPACOM has detected no ballistic missile threat to Hawaii. Earlier message was sent in error. State of Hawaii will send out a correction message as soon as possible,” said Cdr. Dave Benham, a spokesman for U.S. Pacific Command.
Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, blasted the mistake as “totally inexcusable.”
“The whole state was terrified,” he tweeted. “There needs to be tough and quick accountability and a fixed process.”