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Hawaii emergency alert error causes panic, outrage


An emergency alert that warned of a ballistic missile heading directly for Hawaii on Saturday, which was mistakenly sent out, caused panic and outrage among celebrities, politicians, vacationers and locals.

Sent around 8 a.m., the alert, sent from the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, read: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” It took the agency 38 minutes to send a follow-up alert correcting the error.

Fox News’ Greg Gutfeld said on Twitter that his wife, who was at a hotel when she received the alert, said there was “total hysteria/chaos. families evacuating told to seek a shelter. crying panic.”

Actor Jim Carrey tweeted that he “woke up this morning in Hawaii with ten minutes to live. It was a false alarm, but a real psychic warning.”

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis blamed the false alert on President Trump, tweeting: “The real FEAR that mothers & fathers & children felt is on YOU. It is on YOUR ARROGANCE. HUBRIS. NARCISSISM. RAGE. EGO. IMMATURITY and your UNSTABLE IDIOCY.”

Sen. Mazie Hironi, D-Hawaii, tweeted that she would work to find out why the alert was sent out.

Jane Bartlett Pappas, whose brother Alex Pappas is a reporter with Fox News, is on the island of Oahu and while she received an alert on her phone, no alarm system actually went off on the island.

Pappas added she didn’t receive a notification that it was false “until 30-40 minutes after the initial alert. I saw people getting into their cars and running across the street.” She also added that the beach is now “crowded with people swimming and enjoying the beautiful day!”

This smartphone screen capture shows a false incoming ballistic missile emergency alert sent from the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency system on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones)

The mistakenly-sent emergency alert read: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”

Hawaii Gov. David Ige said in a statement that “While I am thankful this morning’s alert was a false alarm, the public must have confidence in our emergency alert system. I am working to get to the bottom of this so we can prevent an error of this type in the future.”

He added he’s meeting with top officials to figure out whay the alarm went off “and to prevent it from happening again.”

Rep. Tusli Gabbard, D-Hawaii, who sent out one of the first tweets warning that the emergency alert was not accurate, later tweeted that “Everyone in American needs to understand that if you had to go through this, you would be as angry as I am – I have been talking about the seriousness of this threat for years.”

“Our leaders have failed us for decades” Gabbard noted, and added that Trump “is taking too long, needs to take North Korea’s “threat seriously,” and that “we have to talk to North Korea and find a peaceful path to get rid of this nuclear threat.”

Twitter user @brynguist wrote the time after she received the emergency alert “were the most terrifying of my life, until I finally checked twitter and saw this.”

Jill N. Tokuda, a Democratic member of the state’s Senate, tweeted that she “saw soccer parents running off the field in fear; my boys & nieces are still very shaken.”

Nicole Darrah covers breaking and trending news for FoxNews.com. Follow her on Twitter @nicoledarrah.





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