Residents and tourists in Hawaii received quite a scare, shortly after 8 a.m on Saturday morning (Jan. 13), when an emergency cellphone alert went out warning of an incoming missile strike.
According to the Washington Post, the alert - which read "BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” - was sent out in error by the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, but it took more than 30 minutes for officials to acknowledge the mistake.
George D. Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), issued the following statement commenting on the false alert.
Speaking in regards to Saturday's incident, Szigeti said:
"This morning's false alert was regrettable and completely avoidable. There was no reason for the alert to be issued and the public needs to know that it was simply a mistake caused by human error. Our governor and the director of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency have made strong public assurances that this type of mistake will never happen again, and we should all take that to heart.
“Already, procedures have been improved to ensure that an error of this magnitude is not repeated. The health and welfare of our residents and visitors is always the State of Hawaii’s top priority and no agency takes that responsibility more seriously than the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.
"There is no cause for travellers with trips already booked to Hawaii or considering a vacation in the islands to change their plans. Hawaii continues to be the safest, cleanest and most welcoming travel destination in the world and the alarm created [today] by the false alert does not change that at all.”