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Cell Phones in Hawaii Receive Ballistic Missile Threat Warning

Mauna Kea Observatory_Big Island Hawaii
Mauna Kea Observatory_Big Island Hawaii via penjelly on Flickr

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.

Text of the message was as follows:

BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.

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.

Hawaii Emergency Management sends out a correction via the Wireless Emergency Alerts system, 38 minutes after the initial "This is not a drill" alert:

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".

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