Just after 10AM PST, The US Pacific Command issued a phone alert for a ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii, warning residents to seek immediate shelter.
Being only approximately 8AM on a Saturday in Hawaii, most received this text as a wake up call that seemed more like a nightmare.
With no news coverage or sirens, thousands of panicked Hawaii residents and visitors took to Twitter for details.
Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill. pic.twitter.com/tlJYNwCr1A
— Ryan Ozawa (@hawaii) January 13, 2018
The Emergency Broadcast then began warning that a missile may make impact on land or sea within minutes, urging people to take immediate shelter.
— Ryan Ozawa (@hawaii) January 13, 2018
Minutes later, Hawaii House Representative, Tulsi Gabbard took to Twitter, stating that officials confirmed with her that the warning was a false alarm.
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
About 20 minutes later, Emergency Management Agency official, Vern Miyagi, confirmed with local and on Twitter that the missile threat labeled in the warning as “not a drill” was actually a drill.
EMA officials now saying on TV that the alert sent to people in Hawaii that said a “ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii … this is not a drill” was actually a drill pic.twitter.com/2osOKDrzKa
— Michelle Broder Van Dyke (@michellebvd) January 13, 2018
NO missile threat to Hawaii.
— Hawaii EMA (@Hawaii_EMA) January 13, 2018
Emergency Management then sent an additional phone alert, stating again that the missile alert was a false alarm.
Hawaii Emergency Management sends out message saying the missile alert is a false alarm 45 minutes later pic.twitter.com/Y79Phzearz
— Honolulu Civil Beat (@CivilBeat) January 13, 2018
CNN producer, Lorenza Ingram was visiting Hawaii with her family, when the event occurred. After all was said and done, she described her experience of receiving the warning and attempting to seek shelter.
CNN producer @lorenzaCNN describes receiving the false alarm in Hawaii: “We got alerts on our phone… we opened our sliding glass door to look out onto the beach, we saw probably 10 different families running, not walking, running back to their room.” https://t.co/Ry25OeY38x pic.twitter.com/RPohH8MTkT
— CNN International (@cnni) January 13, 2018
Despite the brief scare, some Twitter users have quickly shifted gears from fear to poking fun at the error.
Hawaii emergency workers with the button pic.twitter.com/bemhCDE9M7
— Matt ن (@thesdmatt) January 13, 2018
Inside Hawaii missile command pic.twitter.com/VFi2Itj9lU
— Not Jim Acosta (@JimAcostta) January 13, 2018
Others found the mistake unacceptable and are demanding answers.
This was my phone when I woke up just now. I'm in Honolulu, #Hawaii and my family is on the North Shore. They were hiding in the garage. My mom and sister were crying. It was a false alarm, but betting a lot of people are shaken. @KPRC2 pic.twitter.com/m6EKxH3QqQ
— Sara Donchey (@KPRC2Sara) January 13, 2018
What kind of MISTAKE sends a text to everyone’s phones in Hawaii, and sends them into a mass panic? I had to hear my own mother and brother and sister and grandparents say their final “I love you”’s FROM CALIFORNIA and you say “oh no lol it’s a MISTAKE?
— gey colorblind king™ (@MicahSpamz) January 13, 2018
Unreal. Hawaii is my home and my biggest fear while I'm away at grad school is a missile headed toward Hawaii. Saying it's a "mistake" is unacceptable. Way more transparency is needed.
— 🔍everyday is BTS day🔎 (@certifiedjimin) January 13, 2018
House of Representatives Speaker Scott K. Saiki addressed the situation after that matter with the following statement:
JUST IN: A statement from the Hawaii House of Representatives Speaker Scott K. Saiki says: "Apparently, the wrong button was pushed and it took over 30 minutes for a correction to be announced," on the false emergency alert sent earlier across Hawaii. https://t.co/c4Ryevfp5J pic.twitter.com/xDX23jOprf
— ABC News (@ABC) January 13, 2018
An investigation will be underway to determine the details of what happened and responsible parties will be held accountable.