Hawaii worker who sent missile alert thought threat was real
A investigation on the bogus Hawaii missile threat has revealed that the worker who pressed the panic button did so after mistaking a drill for the real thing.
HONOLULU — The employee who sent out a bogus missile threat in Hawaii has been fired, while the rest of the agency is under intense scrutiny.
The New York Times reports that on January 13, Hawaii residents and visitors received an alert on their phones warning of an incoming missile. The alert triggered mass panic in the state before being confirmed as false nearly 40 minutes later.
The state government initially said a worker at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency mistakenly clicked on the wrong button, blaming the interface for being confusing.
But an investigation by Hawaii state officials and the FCC now reveals it wasn't an accident.
According to the investigation report, the mishap began when a supervisor conducted an unplanned drill. He announced 'exercise, exercise, exercise' to indicate it was a test, but for some reason also threw in, 'this is not a drill.'
While most employees understood it was practice, one trigger-happy worker believed it was a real emergency and sent out the alert.
When everyone realized what happened, the worker was told to cancel the alert, but he reportedly froze and did nothing.
The Honolulu Civil Beat reports that it's not the first time it's happened either. Said worker previously confused separate fire and tsunami drills for the real thing — though thankfully no panic buttons were pressed during those incidents.
In the future, maybe find someone who doesn't freak out so easily?
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