The employee who sent out an erroneous alert that warned Hawaiians to take cover from an incoming missile has been “temporarily reassigned,” a state official said Sunday.
The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency is conducting an investigation into how the mistaken alert was sent, but it appears to have happened accidentally when the longtime employee of the agency clicked the ballistic missile alert button on a dropdown menu instead of clicking the option to start a new watch shift.
“The employee who issued the alert has been temporarily reassigned pending the outcome of our internal investigation,” an HIEMA spokesman told Fox News. “He will still report to work within our Emergency Operations Center, but in a different capacity that does not provide access to the warning system.”
Early Saturday morning, an alert went out to all cell phones in Hawaii that said “Missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.” The employee who triggered the alert did not realize his mistake until the message popped up on his phone.
For 40 minutes, the alert went uncorrected as people all over the state panicked, thinking the islands were under attack. (RELATED: ‘Thank God For This Experience’: How One Hawaiian Family Turned 38 Minutes Of Terror Into A Moment Of Gratitude)
Hawaii “did not have reasonable safeguards or process controls in place to prevent the transmission of a false alert,” Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said Sunday, saying the mistake was “absolutely unacceptable.”
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