The Hawaii government employee who caused mass panic by accidentally sending out a statewide warning that a ballistic missile was incoming has been “temporarily reassigned” pending an internal investigation into the blunder, officials said.
The worker, employed by the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, pressed the wrong button — twice, in fact — during a shift change Saturday. Officials said the employee, using a drop-down menu on a computer, selected a missile launch warning instead of one that conducts an internal test alert.
Compounding the error, the employee, a 10-year veteran who has still not been named, then clicked “yes” when the computer prompt appeared asking whether to he’d like to continue. “The worker realized the epic proportions of his error after receiving the same frightening missile alert on his own phone,” the Associated Press reported.
At 8:07 a.m. Saturday, this alert went out to all Hawaii cell phones: “Missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.” Hawaiians went into full panic mode. Some residents shoved their children into storm drains, thinking they might survive the massive explosion from the missile. Others contacted relatives on the mainland and elsewhere to say good bye. The error was not corrected for more than 40 minutes.
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