Hawaiians were thrown into a panic Saturday morning after an emergency alert was mistakenly sent, warning them to “seek immediate shelter” from a ballistic missile threat, and it took emergency officials 38 minutes to send a new alert to mobile phones that the threat was a false alarm.
Hawaii Emergency Management Agency Administrator Vern Miyagi said at a press conference with the governor Saturday afternoon that a single individual sent out the alert by mistake. The individual went so far as to click through a second message, intended as a safeguard, that asked whether the alert should go out.
But the blame should not fall on that man’s shoulders alone, Miyagi said. “I accept responsibility for this,” he said. “This is my team. We made a mistake. We are going to process this and study this to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
The lapse led to an uproar over how such an error — with potentially dangerous consequences — could occur during a time of high international tensions with North Korea.