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Hawaii panics over 'missile strike' false alarm

Hawaii panics over 'missile strike' false alarm

"I woke up this morning in Hawaii with ten minutes to live".

This smartphone screen capture shows a false incoming ballistic missile emergency alert sent from the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency system on Saturday.

Victims of the ordeal spoke of hysteria and panicked evacuations.

Though this false alarm was due to human error, many think an attack can still happen.

Why was the alert sent?

Emergency management officials later admitted "the wrong button was pushed" during a shift change.

The message was reportedly sent despite an onscreen prompt requesting confirmation.

"This is not a drill", the ominous, all-caps push alert blared on people's phones. After 30 minutes of fright and tearful goodbyes, a correction was issued.

"This false alert is detrimental to the integrity and trust of the emergency management system", said state Sen.

"The people of Hawaii should never have had to go through this".

Hawaii, a chain of islands in the Pacific Ocean, has a population of about 1.4 million people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and is home to Pacific Command, the Navy's Pacific Fleet and other elements of the American military. "Everyone was genuinely terrified".

Stacey Bow, 56, of Honolulu, said she received the emergency alert on her cellphone.

"We were texting love ones, saying this is what's happening, we don't know what's going on, but we love you", Natalie Longosz said. "It was the scariest, like, most real moment I've ever been in in my entire life" said Knight. "I was like, if it's my time, it's my time".

In July, the state of Hawaii released official guidelines on how to survive a nuclear detonation.

Governor David Ige said: "I am sorry for the pain and confusion it caused".

The chair of the US Federal Communications Commission Ajit Pai said there would be a full investigation into the incident.

A second alert was sent that read: "There is no missile threat or danger to the State of Hawaii".

But those not on the social media website had to wait 38 minutes to find out it was a mistake.

The apologies didn't satisfy some. "What do you do", she said.

With such a serious threat, it makes sense that officials would want to make sure nothing like that ever happens again, especially with the concerns of the country. It plans to vote on revisions to the alert system later this month.

State officials said a "cancellation template" would be created to address the problem, the New York Times reported.

Is the president under fire?

Former defence department employee under President Barack Obama, Patrick Granfield, said "thank God the President was playing golf".

Actor Jamie Lee Curtis said Trump should blame himself for the fear that families felt.

The White House said President Donald Trump was briefed about the incident, calling the alert "purely a state exercise".

Why was Hawaii already on edge?

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