Alert About Missile Bound for Hawaii Was Sent in Error, Officials Say

People flocked to shelters, crowding highways in scenes of terror in addition to also helplessness. “I was running through all the scenarios in my head, although there was nowhere to go, nowhere to pull over to,” said Mike Staskow, a retired military captain.

At Konawaena High School on the Island of Hawaii, where a high school wrestling championship was taking place, school officials, more accustomed to responding to alerts of high surf or tsunamis, moved people to the center of the gym as they tried to figure out to shelter someone via a nuclear missile.

“Everyone cooperated,” said Kellye Krug, the athletic director at school. “Once they were gathered we let them use cellphones to reach loved ones. There were a couple kids who were emotional, the coaches were right there to console kids. After the retraction was issued, we gave kids time to reach out again.”

Matt LoPresti, a state representative, told CNN which he in addition to also his family headed for a bathroom. “”I was sitting inside bathtub with my children, saying our prayers,” he said.

Around the Ko’a Kea Hotel at Poipu Beach on the island of Kauai, guests looked quizzically around, wondering aloud if the alert was real. Many, looking bewildered, made their way to the main lobby, where they were invited by hotel staff to shelter inside basement parking garage among the vehicles. Very little information was provided, in addition to also the sense of urgency in addition to also panic rose.

Within several minutes, about 30 people were huddled inside garage, some creating phone calls or scanning Twitter for details. Others gathered together near the edges of the garage, trying to make sense of the alert. At least one young guest was crying.

Word spread quickly after Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii tweeted at 8:19 which the alert was a false alarm. The hotel staff, however, told guests not to leave the property until they got the all clear. Many decided on their own which the item was safe to venture out once tweets began appearing via officials saying the alert was false.

In Washington, the White House said President Trump had been informed of the events. “The president has been briefed on the state of Hawaii’s emergency management exercise,” said Lindsay Walters, a deputy press secretary. “This particular was purely a state exercise.”

Senator Brian Schatz, a Democrat, said which the false alarm was the result of human error. “There can be no missile threat,” he said. “the item was a false alarm based on a human error.”

“What happened today can be totally inexcusable,” he said. “The whole state was terrified. There needs to be tough in addition to also quick accountability in addition to also a fixed process.”

The false alert was a stark reminder of what happens when the old realities of the nuclear age collide with the speed – in addition to also the potential for error – inherent inside nuclear age.

The alert came at one of the worst possible moments: When tension with North Korea has been at one of the highest points in decades, in addition to also when the government of Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s young leader, has promised more missile tests in addition to also threatened the possibility of an atmospheric nuclear test. although the cellphone alerting system was inside hands of state authorities; the detection of missile launches can be the responsibility of the U.S. Strategic Command in addition to also Northern Command, essential cogs inside military. the item was the military – not Hawaiian officials – who were the first to come out in addition to also declare which there was no evidence of a missile launch.

During the Cold War there were many false alarms. William J. Perry, the secretary of defense during the Clinton Administration, recalled in a recent memoir, “My Journey at the Nuclear Brink,” a moment in 1979 when, as an undersecretary of defense, he was awakened by a watch officer who reported which his computer system was showing 0 intercontinental ballistic missiles headed to the United States. “For one heart-stopping second I thought my worst nuclear nightmare had come true,” Mr. Perry wrote.

In fact the general who called him said they believed the item was a false alarm, although had not yet figured out what went wrong. the item turned out a training tape had been mistakenly inserted in an early-warning system computer. No one woke up the President. although Mr. Perry went on to speculate what might have happened if such a warning had come “during the Cuban Missile Crisis or a Mideast war?” in addition to also which can be exactly what the U.S. faces today with North Korea.

the item can be an especially difficult problem because of growing fears inside the military about the cyber vulnerability of both the nuclear warning system in addition to also nuclear control systems.

Because of its location, Hawaii has – more than any various other part of the United States – been threatened by the escalating tensions in addition to also the risks of war. Preparations had already begun, including an air raid siren alert on Dec. 1, the start of what officials said would likely be monthly drills.

On Friday, the day before the alert, several hundred people attended an event in Honolulu sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce in which military commanders, politicians in addition to also others discussed the threat to the islands’ population.

“The U.S. can be the designated recipient — in addition to also which’s because we are public enemy No. 1 to North Korea,” Dan Leak, a retired Air Force lieutenant general in addition to also Pacific Command deputy commander, was quoted as saying inside Honolulu Star Advertiser.

In a keynote speech to the group, Admiral Harry B. Harris Jr., commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, was quoted as saying: “While the possibility of a nuclear strike can be slim, we today live in a world where we must be prepared for every contingency.”

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