PGA Tour pros were among those who got a frightening message on their mobile phones on Saturday morning, when the state of Hawaii's ballistic missile alert system accidentally sent a notice to anyone on the Hawaiian islands that a ICBM was heading toward the 50th state.
At approximately 1:07 p.m. Eastern or 8:07 a.m. Hawaii time, an emergency message was broadcast to mobile phones, which read, "BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL."
The message sent thousands into panic, with a rapid response on social media asking the U.S. Pacific Command for details and more information.
At 1:20 p.m. the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, which handles sending the warnings and alarms, cleared that there was an error, tweeting, “NO missile threat to Hawaii."
Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and Senator Brian Schatz quickly tweeted about the false alarm.
HAWAII - THIS IS A FALSE ALARM. THERE IS NO INCOMING MISSILE TO HAWAII. I HAVE CONFIRMED WITH OFFICIALS THERE IS NO INCOMING MISSILE. pic.twitter.com/DxfTXIDOQs
— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) January 13, 2018
There has yet to be an explanation for the false alarm and the resulting communication and public scare. However, a variety of elected Hawaiian officials are demanding answers, accountability and transparency. Early reports indicate a malfunction during a system test.
Hawaii's Emergency Management Agency spokesman said the agency had been performing a standard drill and normally an alert wouldn't be sent, so they suspect a technical issue occurred: "We have absolutely no indication it was any kind of hacking."
— Amber Jamieson (@ambiej) January 13, 2018
The ballistic missile system was recently revived in response to claims from North Korea that its intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) could reach Hawaii.
The PGA Tour is in Hawaii for the second week in a row, playing the Sony Open in Hawaii, the season's first full-field event, in Honolulu. Once the true nature of the alarm was identified, the PGA Tour quickly alerted players and caddies that the Saturday third-round slate wound go on as scheduled.
Message that Tour sent out following inadvertent incoming missile alert that came out here in Honolulu ... pic.twitter.com/PzUjJ8rMKv
— Brian Wacker (@brianwacker1) January 13, 2018