Cell Phones in Hawaii Receive Ballistic Missile Threat Warning
Screenshots on social media showed iPhone emergency alerts warning that a ballistic missile was inbound.
The message appeared to be an official Wireless Emergency Alert that will alert cell phones to weather events, AMBER alerts, and Presidential messages.
After receiving the alert, Individuals called Civil Defense to try and confirm the situation, and the Hawaii Emergency Management account has now said the alert was a "mistake", but no cause for the mistake has been given. Either it was mistakenly sent by a legitimate source, or the system was infiltrated and used to send the alert. In response, Hawaii Emergency Management has said there was a drill taking place and that the message was somehow mistakenly sent to the public.
NO missile threat to Hawaii.— Hawaii EMA (@Hawaii_EMA) January 13, 2018
Text of the message was as follows:
BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.
I just called up civil defense about the ballistic missle threat to #hawaii they said that it was a mistake.— William Heyler (@wfh1901) January 13, 2018
Video below shows the alert message audio playing over a TV. Some residents reported hearing the alert sirens while others specifically noted the lack of sirens. When the alert siren system was tested in December, old equipment was found to be malfunctioning.
TV with the alert pic.twitter.com/VCZAtvyuzQ— Michelle Broder Van Dyke (@michellebvd) January 13, 2018
Hawaii Emergency Management sends out a correction via the Wireless Emergency Alerts system, 38 minutes after the initial "This is not a drill" alert:
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
What happened? A member of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency took over at the start of their shift and clicked "missile alert" instead of "test missile alert".