False Hawaii Missile Alert

Hawaii Missile Alert Flashback: Something We Just Can’t Get Over

As you are well aware, a scary Hawaii missile alert hit phones in Hawaii. It was four years ago today. The alert read, “Inbound Missile Alert – Take Cover, This is Not a Drill.” It took over 30 minutes for a false alert to be issued even though officials knew the error within minutes. We learned subsequently that Governor Ige could not find his Twitter login credential to stop the chaos earlier.

On that unforgettable and otherwise quiet Saturday morning, the ballistic missile alert was inadvertently sent via emergency alert system and was broadcast on television, radio, and via phones throughout the state of Hawaii. For whatever reason, civil defense outdoor warning sirens were not authorized by the state.

The state later blamed the alert on an error during a Hawaii Emergency Management Agency drill. Governor David Ige apologized for the alert, and the FCC and the Hawaii House of Representatives investigated the incident, which subsequently led to the resignation of the department’s administrator.

Let’s just say that we still haven’t forgotten that day, from four years ago.

A Hawaii missile alert was no way to start our day in Hawaii. Your editors were in Honolulu following a flight and doing a trip report on the inaugural Hawaiian Airlines A321neo. Before returning to Kauai, a weekend in the big city had been planned.

While we learned that there was widespread panic in Waikiki and elsewhere in the state, at least where we were, nearly UH,  seemed relatively quiet and normal. We heard no air raid sirens blasting or other alert notices posted online. That seemed very odd. It felt like something else was up and not to worry. But there was still a level of anxiety as we wondered why other notices were not forthcoming. And then we learned more about why.

Governor Ige Didn’t Have His Twitter Credentials!

It took the state a seemingly endless 38 minutes to retract the alert, inasmuch as there was apparently no provision in place to correct previously distributed emergency notices. The governor was actually aware within a couple of minutes that this was a false alarm. It was later reported, however, that he did not have his Twitter login credentials needed to dispel fear. Going forward, you can rest assured that the governor knows his password. It’s also a good reminder for everyone to keep passwords handy for emergency situations.

Emergency Warnings in Hawaii.

Luckily these have proven to be false or irrelevant some of the time, although you still have to take them seriously. When we receive an alert, we always go to additional sources to verify the level of a threat if there is any. Obviously, any emergency alert is important in order to protect personal safety.

The latest alert was just this week.

As regular commenter Richard just mentioned, there was another alert just this week. He said, “Are you ready for this on January 10th the FAA briefly halted some U.S. West Coast flights around the time of N. Korea hypersonic missile launch. The ground stop occurred around 2:30 p.m. Pacific Time and lasted only 15 minutes.”

Comic Relief.

Once it was over, there were t-shirts on the market with a comic spin of what happened. We also found a video called, Staying Alive (the Hawaii Missile threat) by Frank Delima that is worth a look.

If you were here in Hawaii on January 13, 2018, tell us what it was like for you.

Updated 1/13/22.

Leave a Comment

Comment policy:
* No profanity, rudeness, personal attacks, or bullying.
* Hawaii focused only. General comments won't be published.
* No links or UPPER CASE text. English please.
* No duplicate posts or using multiple names.
* Use a real first name, last initial.
* Comments edited/published/responded to at our discretion.
* Beat of Hawaii has no relationship with our commentors.
* 750 character limit.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

39 thoughts on “Hawaii Missile Alert Flashback: Something We Just Can’t Get Over”

  1. I was there for an over 50 soccer tournament (as a player). I was watching TV that morning (inevitably a soccer game) when the emergency broadcast started on the TV. I called my wife in, who was just out of the shower. We couldn’t believe it…..we went down to the basement of the hotel….called our son on the mainland….and then our friends who are his guardians, if we die. Those were fun conversations. Thankfully the all clear came just as we got to street level. We had a game later that day and our striker was a bit off form. Like me he’s Scottish….and confessed he’d gone immediately to the nearest bar, when the alarm was sounded, and downed three single malts in 10 mins.

  2. I had just landed at the airport in Maui. I mostly remember that for my entire stay that was the bulk of TV news coverage.
    Hoping to return in a coupe of weeks.

  3. My daughter and I were at a Science Olympiad competition. We were all in the cafeteria waiting for events to start when cell phones began blaring the warning. It was surreal. We were told to shelter in place, but after a few minutes, we chose to go into a restroom instead, because we thought a smaller room might be safer. On the walk there I held my daughter’s hand. She said, “Mom, I don’t want to die.” I told her I didn’t either, but that at least we were together. I’ll never forget…

  4. I was working in Kapaa when I got the alert. First thing I did was look to see if Sleeping Giant was still sleeping! Only on Kaua’i,,,

  5. On Tuesday Jan 11th the FAA briefly grounded west coast flights due to North Korea launching a Mach 10 hypersonic missile. This is a clear and present danger to all Hawaiians. According to the New York Times Magazine in a 2018 article the hypersonic missile would reach Hawaii in 15 minutes. At least nobody will have to endure 38 minutes of panic if the attack is real next time.

  6. Hoping this passes muster, my favorite story from the alert: Two workers were bored that Saturday morning and wanted some music to pep up the office. A worker said, “Hey Siri, play me so horny.”

    Siri responded as she sometimes doesn’t hear clearly, “Okay, playing missile warning.”

  7. I was sleeping late that weekend, with my cellphone turned off, so missed the whole thing. Jesus is my Savior, so I’m seriously ready to go at any time. Which is a good thing, given the news reports of Communist China’s on-going massive military & nuclear build-up, which could turn this “drill” into a reality one day. Certainly hope not, but only God knows.

  8. Well I am very pleased, indeed, that I did not vote for Mr. Ige.
    Does not inspire confidence nor leadership driven decision making.
    Frankly I am surprised that the Hawaii government has stood up to and appears to be prevailing over the U S military regarding the 8 year old fuel leakage into our precious Hawaii water source.

  9. Still have front page Maui News. We’d been on Maui couple days. When I saw alarm, simultaneously wanted to laugh & freak. Thought it had to be a mistake, but…I thought, we’re in a concrete building, on 3rd floor, just go sit in the interior hallway to wait, I’m in my happy place, my kids are safe on mainland, faith in God strong. Speakers I didn’t know existed in our TS went off telling us to leave our rooms, only take stairs to ground floor, stay in bldg. Maui Ocean Club did good job IMO.

  10. It wasn’t quite as funny for the Tourists on the Beach in Waikiki, being told to hit the Sewers, a few Heart Attacks, then Mazie Hirono blamed the USN in Pearl Harbor, when the culprit was a City or County Employee who failed to follow Protocols! There’s something about Governor Ige, that should have told the Electorate, this guy is not ready for this job!


Scroll to Top