Hawaii governor apologizes for false alert

HONOLULU (AP) — The Latest on a missile threat mistakenly sent by Hawaii officials (all times local):

1:20 p.m.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige is apologizing for the “pain and confusion” caused by false ballistic missile attack alert.

In a conciliatory news conference Saturday, Ige promised to evaluate the testing system to ensure such a mistake would never happen again.

The alert on Saturday sent the islands into a panic, with people abandoning cars in a highway and preparing to flee their homes until officials said the cellphone alert was a mistake.

Hawaii Emergency Management Agency Administrator Vern Miyagi said the error happened when someone pushed the wrong button.

Both Miyagi and Ige promised a single person will not be able to make such an error in the future.


11:40 a.m.

It wasn’t just Hawaii residents who were in a panic when state officials mistakenly sent out an alert saying a ballistic missile was headed to the islands Saturday morning.

Some professional golfers taking part in the Sony Open in Honolulu were also caught off guard.

PGA Tour player Colt Knost was in his hotel in Waikiki Beach. He said he went to the lobby and everyone was panicking, running around saying, “What do we do?”

Charles Howell III was among players staying at the Kahala Hotel on the golf course. He said he was eating breakfast and “all the alarms went off at the same time.”

He says that got everyone’s attention, but they didn’t know what to do. He says, “We all just stared at each other.”


10:45 a.m.

House Speaker Scott Saiki says someone pushed the wrong button, sending an alert to cellphone users across the islands warning of them of an impending missile strike. However, there was no attack on Hawaii, and officials later said the alert was sent in error.

Cindy McMillan, a spokeswoman for Gov. David Ige (IG’-eh) confirmed to The Associated Press that it was human error, but she didn’t have further details.

Saiki says the system Hawaii residents have been told to rely on failed miserably. He also took emergency management officials to task for taking 30 minutes to issue a correction, prolonging panic.

He says in a statement that the Hawaii House of Representatives will begin an immediate investigation.

Saiki says, “Clearly, government agencies are not prepared and lack the capacity to deal with emergency situations.”


10:05 a.m.

President Donald Trump has been briefed on a false alert that Hawaii was under the threat of being hit by a ballistic missile.

Hawaii emergency officials later…

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