Hampton native living in Hawaii talks about false missile alert

A view of Honolulu’s Waikiki beach

On Saturday morning, people in Hawaii received an emergency alert on their cell phones reading "BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII".

The US military is in charge of detecting ballistic missile launches and maintains a complex and integrated network of sensors and detection capabilities in the Pacific to follow missile activity, a network that has been improved in recent years.

A mistaken alert went out Saturday warning of a missile headed toward Hawaii, Jan. 13, 2018.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige told CNN that human error caused the alert to go out.

"I just knew that I needed to start saying goodbye", Williams said.

The Hawaii Emergency Management agency confirmed the alert was false and that there would be an investigation to learn how it was sent out. However, it was really a false alarm.

"This is not a drill", the ominous, all-caps push alert blared on people's phones.

"If you are watching this video, that means I didn't make it", Mark Gardner said in the video.

Mr Ige said the emergency management agency after the incident ordered a change in its procedures requiring two employees, not just one, to send out such an alert in the future. "The change of shift is about three people".

Social media was filled with accounts from horrified Hawaiians, and a thread on social media platform Reddit revealed just how frantic people were during those 38 minutes.

Both Zuelke and Smith said they found out that the missile threat was not real after seeing Twitter posts from Hawaii politicians denying that the state was in harm's way. Miyagi, who took responsibility for the incident, said the mistake "should have been caught".

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission says it appears the government of Hawaii didn't have reasonable safeguards in place that would have prevented the transmission of the false alert.

A corrected message indicating that "there is no missile threat or danger to the state of Hawaii" was not dispatched to phones until almost 40 minutes later. Ige will brief Hawaii's congressional delegation Saturday afternoon.

But even if North Korea didn't exist, a false alert about an incoming ballistic missile would have caused the same kind of terror and panic.

He called the false alarm "definitely scary stuff". Michael Sterling, 56, of Los Angeles, was in Waikiki when he received the alert.

There were children crying, adults "freaking out", and families running back from the beach to find their loved ones.

The latest was November 29, when North Korea said it launched a new, nuclear-capable weapon that could allegedly reach the entire continental United States. "The whole state was terrified".

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