The emergency alert, which popped up on mobile phones across Hawaii shortly after 8am local time, read: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”
In a statement posted on Twitter, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said the alert was a false alarm.
“This is a false alarm. There’s no incoming missile to Hawaii. I have confirmed with officials there is no incoming missile,” she said.
The message prompted panic and confusion, both on the ground and on social media. Emergency phone lines were reportedly clogged with calls following the alert.
Another Civil Defense message, reassuring Hawaiians that the original alert was in fact false, has reportedly only reached some citizens after long delays, apparently due to the strain the event has put on local phone lines.
It was some 30 minutes after the alert that the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency confirmed the missile threat was non-existent.
NO missile threat to Hawaii.
— Hawaii EMA (@Hawaii_EMA) January 13, 2018
The US military’s Pacific command has also reassured citizens it was a false alarm, confirming it had “detected no ballistic missile threat to Hawaii” and that the message had been “sent in error.”
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