Hawaii residents send death threats to agency that sent false missile alarm

The agency that mistakenly sent a ballistic missile alert to thousands of cellphones in Hawaii is now receiving death threats from angry residents.

Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HIEMA) has gotten the threatening calls through a public line since it sent the state into panic over a false alarm.

“We understand that members of our community are angry about Saturday's false alarm, and we are looking at these messages as individuals blowing off steam,” a HIEMA spokesman told the local CBS affiliate KGMB. “While we take any threat against our personnel seriously, we are doing our best not to escalate the situation.”

Residents were still seething more than a day after a cellphone alert reading “This is not a drill.”

RELATED: Social reactions to Hawaii's false alarm ballistic missile alert

14 PHOTOS
Social reactions to Hawaii's false alarm ballistic missile alert
See Gallery
Social reactions to Hawaii's false alarm ballistic missile alert

**Click through the following slides to see how people reacted to the false alarm ballistic missile alert in Hawaii**

(REUTERS/Hugh Gentry)

You need to know the story of KAL-007, a Korean airliner shot down in 1983, to understand why those 38 minutes in H… https://t.co/ZJibpcgoHH
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… https://t.co/PNzlvH18sz
So sorry for all the people in Hawaii who went through that — we know someone who’s there with her family. Crying i… https://t.co/koYJPZemis
I woke up this morning in Hawaii with ten minutes to live. It was a false alarm, but a real psychic warning. If we… https://t.co/GuqRCIALgG
We often forget -- and shouldn't -- that Hawaii, though thousands of miles from the continental US, is very much pa… https://t.co/LIsXzrpzQl
Who is being fired for mistakenly sending out an emergency alert of an incoming ICBM headed towards Hawaii? What if… https://t.co/YRM3WoaV2N
Footage of children entering storm drains in Hawaii after the false incoming missile alert https://t.co/qttVDn7dXu via @NatsecPack
In a world where unstable leaders wield weapons of mass destruction, Hawaii is a wake up call. Nuclear buttons and… https://t.co/cE2bW3nLqJ
The missile launch warning also went out over TV in Hawaii. Note how it directly states “US PACOM has detected a mi… https://t.co/2pB9vnYHR3
Hawaii missile alerts were a false alarm, a human error. Thank God. A real threat: Trump is unstable and cavalier.… https://t.co/lsGimQNyd8
I really can’t imagine how terrifying those minutes must have been for the people of Hawaii this morning
legit thought I was about to die in hawaii. at a goddamned doubletree.
Hawaii's nuke alert button guy. https://t.co/27gYUGYKNa
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Roughly 1 million people bid farewell to loved ones, prepared children for the worst or took shelter for almost 40 minutes Saturday — only to find out someone pressed the wrong button.

The worker in question, who’s been with HIEMA for a decade, was reassigned after the incident, officials said.

The unidentified employee clicked the ballistic missile alert instead of an option intended to start a new shift. He didn’t realize his mistake until he too got the erroneous missile warning.

The panic left some people in frightful positions.

One man claims he was turned away from a Walmart on Oahu where he tried to take cover.

“It's pretty appalling that kind of behavior,” Dean Sensui told KGMB. “Here’s a community that supports the store and then turns their back on them when they need them the most. What kind of conscience is that? Who does something like that?”

East Honolulu resident and social worker Lisa Foxen wasn’t completely sure what to do in such a situation.

“I kind of was just almost like a deer in headlights,” Foxen, a mother of two, told The Associated Press. “I knew what to do in a hurricane. I knew what to do in an earthquake. But the missile thing is new to me.”

President Trump said federal officials will “get involved,” but didn’t elaborate on how they may.

And although officials say it was an honest mistake, Federal Communications Commission Chief Ajit Pai condemned the error on Sunday as “absolutely unacceptable.”

The false alarm indeed left some Hawaiians fuming at the mistake, leaving them to second guess new warnings.

“My confidence in our so-called leaders' ability to disseminate this vital information has certainly been tarnished,” resident Patrick Day told the AP.

With News Wire Services

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.