The employee responsible for sending an emergency alert warning about an incoming ballistic missile to Hawaii has been fired it was announced today. The state’s Emergency Management Agency administrator Vern Miyagi also announced he will be resigning as a result of the.
An emergency alert was sent to cell phones earlier this month reading, “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” The alert caused widespread panic and confusion, sending thousands running for shelter. It took the state of Hawaii thirty-eight minutes to clarify the message, declaring it a false alarm.
Ongoing threats from North Korea have led to heightened tensions and fears of missile strikes in the Pacific region, including to U.S. states and territories.
The employee who sent the false alarm had twice previously confused drill scenarios with real world scenarios, state officials said. The employee received corrections but was not removed from his position. The employee’s name has not been made public. Co-workers had expressed concerns about the employee in the past, officials said. “They felt he was not capable of doing his job,” said Gen. Bruce Oliveira, the official in charge of the investigation into the alert.
It has also been reported that the reason it took Hawaii’s Governor David Ige so long to declare the alert a false alarm was that he forgot his Twitter password. The governor learned that the alert was a false alarm two minutes after it was sent. It took an additional fifteen minutes for the governor to send a tweet correcting the announcement. “There is NO missile threat,” the governor eventually wrote on Twitter. The follow up cell phone push notification came only thirty-eight minutes after the original message.
State officials held a press conference today to discuss the results of the investigation and released a report detailing the events, recommending changes to avoid a repeat occurrence in the future.