False alarm alert causes panic in Hawaii

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Officials say a new procedure will be put in place to prevent a mistake like this from happening again.

The state adjutant general, Maj.

Ajit Pai, chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), tweeted Saturday that his agency was launching a "full investigation" into the false wireless emergency alert.

The backlash from lawmakers was swift.

House Speaker Scott Saiki said in a statement: "Clearly, government agencies are not prepared and lack the capacity to deal with emergency situations".

Hawaiian officials held a press conference later Saturday, to talk about the human error, and how they're going to keep a similar false alarm from happeneing again.

"There needs to be tough and quick accountability and a fixed process", he wrote.

Hawaii Emergency Management Agency spokesman Richard Rapoza says it's not clear what caused the alert to go out.

The alert, which was sent to cellphones, said there was a threat "inbound to Hawaii" and that residents should seek shelter.

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38 minutes passed before a second message was sent out letting people know it was a false alarm.

Hawaiians have been told that they'll have 20 minutes to seek shelter if a missile were launched from North Korea.

Richard Ing, a Honolulu attorney, was doing a construction project at home when his wife told him about the alert. In November, Hawaii said it would resume monthly statewide testing of Cold War-era nuclear attack warning sirens for the first time in at least a quarter of a century, in preparation for a possible missile strike from North Korea. But there were problems there, too.

"It's so insane that this can actually be a reality now", Ramsbottom said".

"No one had any idea what was really going on", the 28-year-old from NY told AFP, explaining they had no cell service underground.

She questioned why it took civil defense so long to send out the all-clear and why they tweeted before sending a mobile push alert.

Hawaii's governor said an emergency management employee pushed the wrong button.

Speculation was fuelled further when Hawaii Governor David Ige apologised for the false alert that left locals terrified. "A part of me was wondering, 'am I going to see a missile shoot out of the sky from a helicopter?'" "What happened today was totally unacceptable and many in our community are deeply affected by this and I'm sorry".

The US leader recently said he would be willing to speak directly with Kim, with whom he has traded sharp words over Pyongyang's missile and nuclear tests, raising fears of attacks.

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