Hawaii panics over 'missile strike' false alarm

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Emergency management officials say a push alert that warned of an incoming ballistic missile to Hawaii today was a mistake.

But despite the widespread panic, a number of Japanese tourists and residents of the island state interviewed by The Japan Times voiced a more composed reaction to the false alarm.

"Here, there is nothing you can do", she said.

"I was at flight school this morning, listening to the radio when an alarm went off", he said.

"I'm just anxious for the people on the island, getting another notification like this and if it did happen would we be sitting there wondering, is this another human error or is this really happening?" said Apodaca. The emergency notification he saw shocked him.

Shortly after, a spokesman for the U.S. Pacific Command, Dave Benham, told ABC News in a statement that no ballistic missile threat to Hawaii was detected.

"Everyone in America 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", Gabbard said. "At that point, you just pray and find God, I guess".

On Saturday, Rapoza said someone mistakenly triggered the cellphone and television alert during a shift change.

Allyson Niven, who lives in Kailua-Kona, said her first instinct was to gather her family as she contemplated what she thought would be her final minutes alive. "A day when many frantically tried to think about the things that they would do if a ballistic missile launch would happen". People broke into tears, told relatives they loved them and scattered back to their homes and hotels, unsure what to do next.

At least 10 minutes went by with no official word or follow-up.

The United States has not had to make a direct military response to recent North Korean launches because it's been assessed they posed no threat to the United States. "It was a procedure that occurs at the change of shift, enabling [us] to make sure that the system is working, and an employee pushed the wrong button".

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Around 8:10 AM, an emergency alert was sent to all mobile phones in Hawaii saying, "BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII".

"We've spent the last few months trying to get ahead of this whole threat so that we could provide as much notification and preparation to the public". "It took something that's kind of incomprehensible and very quickly made it very personal". Officials say a new procedure will be put in place to prevent a mistake like this from happening again.

But Japanese like Shiomi - accustomed to years of quake warnings and, more recently, alerts about overflying North Korean missiles - have grown used to the ear-splitting alarms emitted by cellphones.

The Navy also confirmed in an email to The Washington Post the emergency alerts had been sent in error.

Quake alerts - including false alarms - have been even more common, with the erroneous reports contributing to a growing and potentially risky sense of indifference among some. That jolt, however, never came.

What was clear was that the erroneous alerts caused a brief panic among those who read it and expected the worst.

Gong, the Honolulu resident from Shizuoka Prefecture, characterized the differences between how Americans and Japanese reacted as "fascinating".

Japanese, Gong said, "are afraid" but "aren't panicked" - a kind of "it can not be helped" attitude.

"I checked my phone, I checked everything that I could", Martorello said. "But there's nowhere to go, nowhere to hide", she said in a series of lengthy tweets. We "can't do anything".

"Also, we give up fast", as if we "will die if the missile" comes.

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