A false missile alert issued Saturday morning angered many residents on the Hawaiian Islands.
A text was sent to residents around 8:10 a.m. local time and warned a ballistic missile was inbound, and that it was not a drill.
A follow-up text saying it was a false alert was sent out around 30 minutes later.
Hawaii emergency officials say the incident was caused by human error.
Some public officials and groups went to social media soon after the first alert to let residents know of the mistake.
Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz went on his Twitter account and called the incident “totally inexcusable.”
He is calling for accountability and an alert process that is foolproof.
AGAIN FALSE ALARM. What happened today is totally inexcusable. The whole state was terrified. There needs to be tough and quick accountability and a fixed process.
— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) January 13, 2018
Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency released a statement soon after.
“We understand that false alarms such as this can erode public confidence in our emergency notification systems,” the agency said. “We understand the serious nature of the warning alert systems and the need to get this right 100% of the time.”
Governor David Ige apologised in the release and said improvements are on the way.
“I know first-hand how today’s false alarm affected all of us here in Hawaii, and I am sorry for the pain and confusion it caused,” Ige said. “I, too, am extremely upset about this and am doing everything I can do to immediately improve our emergency management systems, procedures and staffing.”
Rising tensions between the U.S. and North Korea have led Hawaii, one of the closest states to North Korea, to prepare for such an attack.
With files from CBC