‘Seek Immediate Shelter’: Missile Alert Text Sent Out By Mistake In Hawaii

In what it already a fairly tense time, with people living in legitimate fear that Trump and North Korea could escalate the world into a nuclear war on a mere whim, residents of Hawaii have mistakenly received a text message warning them of an incoming missile attack.

Hawaii has an alert system in place because of its location in the Pacific and its proximity to North Korean missiles, and the push notification, sent out at 8.07am local time, told residents to “seek immediate shelter” and adding “this is not a drill.”

Per BBC News reports, local TV broadcasts were also interrupted, with a message informing residents:

“If you are outdoors seek immediate shelter in a building. Remain indoors well away from windows. If you are driving pull safely to the side of the road and seek shelter in a building while laying on the floor. We’ll announce when the threat has ended. This is not a drill!”

A correction email was sent out 18 minutes later, but there was no follow-up text sent for 38 minutes, leaving recipients panicked and fearful.

Matt Lopresti, a politician Hawaii’s House of Representatives, told BBC News how he and his family prepared for an incoming attack, saying:

“We got our children, grabbed our emergency supplies, put them in our most enclosed room in our house which is our bathroom. We put them in the bath tub, said our prayers, tried to find out what the Hell was going because we didn’t hear any alarms, any of the sirens. There’s not much else you can do in that situation. You know, we did what we could … and I am very angry right now because it shouldn’t be this easy to make such a big mistake.”

State Governor David Ige has apologised to residents of Hawaii, saying that an employee pressed the wrong button; senator Brian Schatz has also blamed “human error”, saying that the mistake is “totally inexcusable.”

Military veteran and member of Congress Tulsi Gabbard took to Twitter with a warning over the false alarm, and later said:

“The people of Hawaiʻi should never have had to go through this. The people of America should not be faced with this threat right now. We need peace – not political bickering. We have to talk to North Korea and find a peaceful path to get rid of this nuclear threat.”

The US federal government has promised a full investigation into the incident.