TIMELINE: False ballistic missile warning sends Hawaii into panic

Students run for cover after receiving missile alert mistake
Published: Jan. 13, 2018 at 3:20 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 13, 2018 at 3:42 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A false ballistic missile threat alert was sent to Hawaii phones on Saturday morning, sending the state into a panic. Here is a rundown of how things evolved over the course of the day.

8:07 a.m.
State of Hawaii emergency management officials trigger an emergency alert that reads: "BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL."

8:10 a.m.
The Hawaii Civil Defense Agency begins the recall and cancellation process for the ballistic missile alert. The agency has, at this point, internally determined the message was erroneously triggered.

8:10 a.m.
Hawaii's Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Arthur Logan, calls the appropriate authorities at the U.S. Pacific Command to confirm that there is no threat and that the message was not meant to be triggered.

8:19 a.m.
Based on our own reporting, and information gathered from sources within Hawaii's emergency management agencies, Hawaii News Now becomes the first agency to widely alert the public that the missile alert message was mistakenly sent. The following message, from the Hawaii News Now app, is pushed to mobile devices: "There is no current ballistic missile threat. The emergency alert warning has been sounded by mistake, according to Civil Defense."

8:19 a.m.
U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard takes to Twitter to also quell fears and confirm that the alert was sent in error.

8:20 a.m.
The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency's official Twitter acount sends out a tweet that says there is "NO missile threat to Hawaii." The message is only distributed to those who follow @Hawaii_EMA on Twitter.

8:23 a.m.
Three minutes later, the agency posts a similar message to its official Facebook page. "NO missile threat to Hawaii. False alarm. We're currently investigating," reads the post.

8:25 a.m.
Honolulu's mayor, Kirk Caldwell, sends out a message on Twitter confirming that the alert had been sent in error. "The ballistic missile warning that was issued is a FALSE alarm. Repeat FALSE alarm," Caldwell writes.

8:29 a.m.
Hawaii News Now sends a second alert to mobile app users, reinforcing that the state's initial alert message was sent in error. "There is no ballistic missile threat to Hawaii. Alert sent to Hawaii phones in error, state confirms," the push alert reads.

8:35 a.m.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Pacific Command sends out a statement via email that says the warning was distributed in error. "USPACOM has detected no ballistic missile threat to Hawaii. Earlier message was sent in error," says Commander David Benham. "State of Hawaii will send out a correction message as soon as possible."

8:43 a.m.
The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency sends out a corrective alert to telephones across Hawaii using the same system that pushed out the false alarm message. This time, the alert reads "There is no missile threat or danger to the State of Hawaii. Repeat. False Alarm." Nearly 40 minutes has passed since the state sent the initial alert to cellular phones.

9:34 a.m.
Governor David Ige issues the following statement: "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."

9:39 a.m.
The Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, writes on Twitter that the agency is launching a "full investigation into the false emergency alert that was sent to residents of Hawaii."

9:49 a.m.
With President Donald Trump visiting Florida, the White House issues the following statement: "The President has been briefed on the state of Hawaii's emergency management exercise. This was purely a state exercise." The false alarm warning was the result of "human error" by an emergency management employee, according to Hawaii Gov. David Ige, and was not an exercise.

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