Panic in Hawaii after false missile alert

The false alarm was attributed to a worker who had inadvertently "pushed the wrong button" during a shift change at Hawaii's emergency command post.
The false alarm was attributed to a worker who had inadvertently "pushed the wrong button" during a shift change at Hawaii's emergency command post.PHOTO: REUTERS

Panic-stricken tourists and residents in Hawaii ran for cover after an alert about an impending ballistic missile attack was mistakenly sent on Saturday morning to mobile phones across the US state, urging people to "seek immediate shelter".

The false alarm was attributed to a worker who had inadvertently "pushed the wrong button" during a shift change at Hawaii's emergency command post, said Governor David Y. Ige. It was not corrected for nearly 40 minutes, as people cowered in bathtubs, basements or under beds. The authorities have vowed a full investigation and a review of the alert system.

Hawaii has been on edge over fears that North Korea would launch a missile attack targeting it, and has been staging air-raid drills amid the tension between Pyongyang and the US.

SEE TOP OF THE NEWS:

Panic and confusion as Hawaii residents scramble for shelter

Causes of previous false missile alerts: The sun, the moon and a faulty chip

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 15, 2018, with the headline 'Panic in Hawaii after false missile alert'. Print Edition | Subscribe