Hawaii Emergency Management Agency Administrator Vern Miyagi admitted the issuing of the alert was his “responsibility” and declared the body will work to ensure it “never happens again”.
He said: “It’s my responsibility so this would be my fault.
“And we will work so this doesn’t ever happen again. This is regrettable.
“It won’t happen again because the criticality of the time of this type of event and the credibility of this alarm going out is critical for us saving lives.”
“We will take action to prevent this from ever happening again by having more than one person there to make this decision.
“Let me finish the investigation, this is my fault and we will work so this never happens again.”
Hawaii Governor David Ige explained Mr Miyagi made the mistake by pressing the wrong button.
He declared: “It was a mistake made during a standard procedure at the change over of a shift, and an employee pushed the wrong button.”
Vern Miyagi admitted the issuing of the alert was his ‘responsibility’
Meanwhile, Hawaiian Senator Brian Schatz described the incident as “inexcusable”.
He tweeted: “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.”
An automated warning telling Hawaiians to “seek immediate shelter” was sent out to phones, prompting some to scramble for cover in storm drains and others to huddle in basements.
The message read: “Emergency alert.
“Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.”
A second message delivered nearly 40 minutes later, said there was no threat or danger.
Residents in the area were left shaken and described the frightening moments that ensued after they read the alert.
One man told of how, after receiving the alert and believing it to be real, he was forced to make a split second decision on which of his family members he would spend the last moments of his life with.
Gene Park, who works for the Washington Post, tweeted a message he has received from a friend in Hawaii who was “in tears” after the false alarm.
He said the father had just dropped his oldest child off at the airport and stopped at a restaurant when he received the warning.
The man, fearing the missile could strike at any minute, was then faced with the unimaginable choice of either sheltering where he was, driving back to the airport to be with his eldest son, driving to his wife, who was elsewhere or heading home to be with his two youngest children.
He made the decision to head home to be with his youngest children, despite “knowing I wouldn’t likely make it home in time”.
A user on Twitter posted: “So this emergency alert message was sent to phones all around the Hawaii area and it turned out to be ‘just a mistake.’
Hawaii Governor David Ige explained Mr Miyagi made the mistake by pressing the wrong button
“To me a mistake is getting the license plate one digit off on an amber alert and quickly fixing it, not a freaking ballistic missile launch alert, oh my god.”
Hawaii state representative Matt LoPresti struggled to hold back tears as he said: “I was sitting in the bathtub with my children, saying our prayers.”
One Twitter user wrote: “My family was hiding in the garage. My mom and sister were crying. It was a false alarm, but betting a lot of people are shaken.”
An automated warning telling Hawaiians to ‘seek immediate shelter’ was sent out to phones
The false alarm comes at a time of heightened tensions between the United States and North Korea, with the rogue state regularly threatening to attack America with its arsenal of nuclear weapons.
Kim Jong-un has previously said he would order a strike against the US territory of Guam, which is well within the range of its current ballistic missiles.
And Hawaii, sitting a little over half way between the hermit kingdom and mainland US, would also likely be in the range of the dictator’s long-range weapons.