Image: The Australian
Imagine enjoying the glowing beaches of paradise one moment and fearing total, nuclear annihilation the next. Well, that’s exactly what happened to residents of Hawaii and vacationers Saturday morning.
BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.
That’s the message that was sent out to all of Hawaii via emergency alert notification. Many people began to panic, and wonder if North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un had finally reached his boiling point. As all activities came to a sudden halt, residents and tourists called loved ones, took shelter, and were preparing to die. Little did they know, in spite of what the message said, this was a drill, but it was also a colossal failure.
— Hawaii EMA (@Hawaii_EMA) January 13, 2018
Moments after the alert was sent out the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency tweeted out that there was no missile threat to Hawaii, but it wasn’t until almost 40 minutes after the initial alert that a second one making the correction was sent. How could such a mistake be possible? A human error, according to officials.
“It was a mistake made during a standard procedure at the change over of a shift, and an employee pushed the wrong button,” stated Hawaiian Governor David Ige, while speaking to CNN on the alert broadcasted through television, radio, and emergency text message to all of Hawaii. Later, in a tweet, Ige has also promised to never let it happen again, but to many Hawaiians, his promise seemed empty and blame began to fall upon Ige, and his Twitter began to fill with angry responses like this one,
— Kevin Samson (@go4wiki808) January 13, 2018
Responses like this are justified, considering that over a million people believed that today would be their last day on earth, all thanks to a careless mistake that could have been prevented.
To see the type of impact this alert had on Hawaii, this is a video from the Univeristy of Hawaii at Manoa showing people in a full sprint for safety after seeing the notification: