Hawaiian authorities explain why it took 38 minutes to cancel false alert

Published: Jan. 15, 2018 at 4:00 PM CST
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Questions still remain about the false ballistic missile alarm sent across Hawaii over the weekend. Authorities say they knew it was an accident, but it still took nearly 40 minutes to make an official correction.

The Hawaiian government saying they now have procedures in place to keep it from ever happening again. They say the person responsible for sending the emergency message is receiving mandatory retraining and has been reassigned from the position, no longer allowed near the alert computers.

"There is a screen that says are you sure you want to do this? One person, human error -- and that button was pushed anyway," said Vern Miyago of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.

Officials say from now on it will take two buttons and two people to send island wide alerts warning of a ballistic missile heading toward Hawaii.

"The part of the message that made me panic was "this is not a drill. And I went into mama-bear mode," said resident Paraluman Stice-Durkin.

Saturday morning, the alert stoking fear and panic, sending residents to bunkers and others running for safety.

The false alarm came as concerns about North Korea's nuclear program are at an all time high.

"We have to take the North Korean threat seriously. This ought to be something every community should look at and say are our procedures appropriate," said retired Marine Col. Stephen Ganyard.

And there is now an answer to the questions about why it took 38 minutes to retract the threat, when government officials knew after three minutes, no threat existed.

"It took us that time to get the correct button, the correct message saying this is a false alarm, there is no missile in bound," said Miyagi.

Authorities admit they didn't have the correct application to fix the false alarm, saying now they will have that application constantly loaded.