Hawaii Emergency Alert Error Causes Panic, Outrage

Man describes trying to calm his family after receiving false alarm about missile threat.

An emergency alert that warned of a ballistic missile heading directly for Hawaii on Saturday, which was mistakenly sent out, caused panic and outrage among celebrities, politicians, vacationers and locals.

Sent from the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency at 8:07 a.m. local time, the alert read: "BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL." It took the agency 38 minutes to send a follow-up alert correcting the error.

Fox News' Greg Gutfeld said on Twitter that his wife, who was at a hotel when she received the alert, said there was "total hysteria/chaos. families evacuating told to seek a shelter. crying panic."

this missile thing - wife at hotel said total hysteria/chaos. families evacuating told to seek a shelter. crying. panic. if it's an accident, or NOT - we cannot play this down. even a prankster should be put away for years.

— GregGutfeld (@greggutfeld) January 13, 2018

Actor Jim Carrey tweeted that he "woke up this morning in Hawaii with ten minutes to live. It was a false alarm, but a real psychic warning."

I woke up this morning in Hawaii with ten minutes to live. It was a false alarm, but a real psychic warning. If we allow this one-man Gomorrah and his corrupt Republican congress to continue alienating the world we are headed for suffering beyond all imagination. ;^\ pic.twitter.com/Kwca91IIy2

— Jim Carrey (@JimCarrey) January 13, 2018

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis tweeted as well, but in a more political, less philosophical vein. She attributed the false alert to President Trump, tweeting: "The real FEAR that mothers & fathers & children felt is on YOU. It is on YOUR ARROGANCE. HUBRIS. NARCISSISM. RAGE. EGO. IMMATURITY and your UNSTABLE IDIOCY."

This Hawaii missle scare is on YOU Mr. Trump. The real FEAR that mothers & fathers & children felt is on YOU. It is on YOUR ARROGANCE. HUBRIS. NARCISSISM. RAGE. EGO. IMMATURITY and your UNSTABLE IDIOCY. Shame on your hate filled self. YOU DID THIS!

— Jamie Lee Curtis (@jamieleecurtis) January 13, 2018

Sen. Mazie Hironi, D-Hawaii, tweeted that she would work to find out why the alert was sent out.

Today’s alert was a false alarm. At a time of heightened tensions, we need to make sure all information released to the community is accurate. We need to get to the bottom of what happened and make sure it never happens again.

— Senator Mazie Hirono (@maziehirono) January 13, 2018

Jane Bartlett Pappas, whose brother Alex Pappas is a reporter with Fox News, is on the island of Oahu and while she received an alert on her phone, no alarm system actually went off on the island.

Pappas added she didn't receive a notification that it was false "until 30-40 minutes after the initial alert. I saw people getting into their cars and running across the street." She also added that the beach is now "crowded with people swimming and enjoying the beautiful day!"

This smartphone screen capture shows a false incoming ballistic missile emergency alert sent from the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency system on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones)

The mistakenly-sent emergency alert read: "BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL."

Hawaii Gov. David Ige said in a statement that "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."

I am meeting this morning with top officials of the State Department of Defense and the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency to determine what caused this morning’s false alarm and to prevent it from happening again.

— Governor David Ige (@GovHawaii) January 13, 2018

He added he's meeting with top officials to figure out whay the alarm went off "and to prevent it from happening again."

We will be coming to you Facebook LIVE https://t.co/MF3bfjbtvM this afternoon from the Honolulu Department of Emergency Management at 1 p.m. to address the false alarm. Will keep you posted on changes.

— Governor David Ige (@GovHawaii) January 13, 2018

Rep. Tusli Gabbard, D-Hawaii, who sent out one of the first tweets warning that the emergency alert was not accurate, later tweeted that "Everyone in American 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."

"Our leaders have failed us for decades" Gabbard noted, and added that Trump "is taking too long, needs to take North Korea's "threat seriously," and that "we have to talk to North Korea and find a peaceful path to get rid of this nuclear threat."

Our leaders have failed us for decades, refused to take this threat seriously and prevent a nuclear North Korea, and the people of Hawaiʻi are now paying the price.

— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) January 13, 2018

Donald Trump is taking too long. Now is not the time for posturing. He must take this threat seriously and begin direct talks with North Korea, without preconditions, to de-escalate and denuclearize the Korean peninsula. There is no time to waste.

— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) January 13, 2018

The people of Hawaiʻi should never have had to go through this. The people of America should not be faced with this threat right now. We need peace - not political bickering. We have to talk to North Korea and find a peaceful path to get rid of this nuclear threat.

— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) January 13, 2018

Twitter user @brynguist wrote the time after she received the emergency alert "were the most terrifying of my life, until I finally checked twitter and saw this."

At 8:07am everyone in Hawaii got a phone alert: BALLISTIC THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.

The next 10 minutes were the most terrifying of my life, until I finally checked twitter and saw this.

But seriously, WTF just happened https://t.co/WrFO8qyxR9

— brynguist (@brynguist) January 13, 2018

Jill N. Tokuda, a Democratic member of the state's Senate, tweeted that she "saw soccer parents running off the field in fear; my boys & nieces are still very shaken."

Saw soccer parents running off the field in fear; my boys & nieces are still very shaken. As parents, we could use some advice from the @HIDOE808 & @HawaiiRedCross as we talk to our children about what happened. Suggestions anyone?

— Jill N. Tokuda (@jilltokuda) January 13, 2018

A similar state of alarm and dismay manifested along the H-3, a major highway north of Honolulu, where vehicles sat empty after drivers left them to run to a nearby tunnel after the alert popped up, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

Golfer Justin Thomas, who's in Hawaii for a PGA Tour event, tweeted the false alert was a "hell of a mistake."

To all that just received the warning along with me this morning... apparently it was a “mistake” 🤔 hell of a mistake!! Haha glad to know we’ll all be safe https://t.co/sYmuVzymaQ

— Justin Thomas (@JustinThomas34) January 13, 2018

Democratic Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz tweeted that the false alarm was based on human error, and added: "What happened today is totally inexcusable. The whole state was terrified. There needs to be tough and quick accountability and a fixed process."

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

Sara Donchey, an anchor with Hawaii-based KPRC-TV, tweeted that her family was hiding in their garage, and her mom and sister were both crying after receiving the emergency alert.

This was my phone when I woke up just now. I'm in Honolulu, #Hawaii and my family is on the North Shore. They were hiding in the garage. My mom and sister were crying. It was a false alarm, but betting a lot of people are shaken. @KPRC2 pic.twitter.com/m6EKxH3QqQ

— Sara Donchey (@KPRC2Sara) January 13, 2018

Twitter user @JasonMan811 tweeted that his father, who is in Hawaii, sent him a text that read, "People ran out screaming at breakfast," after receiving the alert. "The line went down so I got more food at the buffett. Cleared out the place."

My dad is in Hawaii for travel... pic.twitter.com/6JXecxuIBt

— Jason anderson (@JasonMan811) January 13, 2018

Rep. Dan Kilee, D-Mich., tweeted: "There should be a very close review of the emergency systems in place to make sure another false alarm isn't the result of a single human error."

My thoughts are with the people of Hawaii, who already have been concerned about missile threats due to their proximity to North Korea. There should be a very close review of the emergency systems in place to make sure another false alarm isn't the result of a single human error. pic.twitter.com/4IKIEgZMdf

— Rep. Dan Kildee (@RepDanKildee) January 13, 2018

Nicole Darrah covers breaking and trending news for FoxNews.com. Follow her on Twitter @nicoledarrah.

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