Hawaii emergency official quits over false ballistic missile alert

Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HIEMA) administrator Vern Miyagi resigned on Tuesday, over two weeks after his organisation sent a false alarm of a missile headed for the isolated US state causing panic among residents. HIEMA director Major General Joe Logan said he has accepted Miyagi’s resignation. Earlier in the day, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said in its preliminary report to HIEMA that the employee who sent the false alarm thought the danger was real. This contradicts Hawaii governor’s statement that the officer pushed the wrong button by mistake during a routine shift change.  The report said the officer acted in the belief this was a real emergency, not a drill. A night-shift supervisor thought of testing the day-shift with an unscheduled drill and played a message that included both the drill language “exercise” and the incoming ballistic threat language “This is not a drill,” the report said. While other officers understood that the message was a drill, the warning officer thought Hawaii was facing a real missile threat. His alert caused unnecessary panic. The report said the 38-minute technical delay in sending the corrected message to cell phone users across Hawaii was due to HIEMA’s lack of preparedness. The FCC oversees public airwaves and the nation’s emergency alert system. The incident came amid rising tension between North Korea and the US.