False Ballistic Missile Threat Alert Terrified Hawaiian Residents and Visitors Saturday Morning

Hawaii alert threat ballistic

Alert message that many people received by phone superimposed on an image of Hawaii’s shoreline. [Background photo by incidencematrix – Shoreline via Wiki Commons.]

At approximately 8:05 a.m. HST and 10:05 a.m PST Saturday, the Hawaii Emergency Broadcast system sent a message to phones and across television/radio stations warning, “Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.” The warning was later learned to be a false alert but residents and visitors panicked.

Michael Godinez, a Mendocino County resident on vacation in Hawaii, said he immediately tried to gather supplies through what he described as “general panic.” Responding through Facebook Messenger he told us he went

….to the nearest store (where they were closing because of it) grabbed 5 gallons of water, non perishables, and lots of tequila, threw the lady $100 and tried my best to find a gas station that wasn’t locking up and seeking shelter themselves.
Called my loved ones. 

Chris Strider, a video editor, captured what people in Hawaii saw on their tv screens and sent it out in the tweet embedded below.

It took approximately 15 minutes for the first official reports that the alert was not accurate and almost 40 minutes for the same system that sent the alert to send out a message that the prior report was inaccurate, according to Hawaii News Now. 

Godinez said that while he thought his fishing trip vacation was “memorable before…I’ll never forget [now].”




  • My friend’s son called her from Hawaii this morning to say he loved her and goodbye. This terrible error affected so many people. Such a frightening experience makes me wonder what I would do if we received a warning like this. Plus the governor of Hawaii was just on the news saying that not everyone got a warning. So much panic and confusion, and also frightening that one human can have made this error. Shouldn’t there be a much more complicated system?

  • A good reminder to make sure you have extra supplies&a full tank of gas with some extra gas containers stashed for emergencies. Whether its a missile or extreme natural event, being prepared can make a huge difference. A good hand pump camping water filter and all your camping supplies will be needed, keep them in a handy spot.
    Unfortunately one of these things is likely to happen.

    This is also a big reminder when you think about driverless cars and robots and emergency systems, ANYTHING can be hacked!!

  • Hopefully, you’d already have emergency supplies and would be finding a place to shelter asap. People tend to go from totally ignoring every kind of preparation to sheer panic when it turns out they were needed. On the other hand, if there is some thought given to having at least some basic supplies, then getting them out replaces panic.

  • Just a little taste of what could REALLY happen if Trump stays in office and keeps using his words….

    • Like NK magically created all its missiles in the last year. They have been going down this road for over a decade – threaten, explode something, allow themselves to be placated and pretend to negotiate then repeat. The only difference is that they have reached a point where they can actually do some of what they threaten.

    • Local, Trump is where my mind focuses as well. It seems an ounce of prevention might avert a serious tequila hangover.
      Whoever has had nukes and for however long, we’ve not had such a frightening man in the White House with them until now.
      Mr Reagan had dementia, but he was a great deal more reasonable as a man and Nancy, despite her other failings, kept a rein on him. He disappeared the last year of his presidency. He wasn’t allowed to shake the hornets.

      And had she not been there, the President’s men still had a shred of integrity in those days. They we’re more interested in the nation than their greed. The cabinet was prepared and willing to invoke the 25th amendment.

      Trump is more likely than not going to get us killed. He’s certainly destroying our international leadership. China will be the world leader by 2020. They are working with Russia now to replace the US Dollar as the currency for international trade.

      And it is such a perfect storm. Our national economy is in tatters. (Yes the stockmarket is doing well, but there’s no manufacturing or production and we have more people in prison than Russia ever considered. These are the real markers of the economy.) Our social safety net is nearly gone. The environment is crashing. Marijuana money just left the local economy. And if the dollar isn’t held up by it’s role as the international currency, we will see hyperinflation.
      Tequila seems as a good of a response as any.

      • Analysing what you’re saying- the country went to hell in a handbasket for decades yet the President elected a year ago is responsible for not magically fixing it immediately and needs to be removed.

        • The country has troubles that long predate him. One might say an illogical, emotional plea to repair those troubles got Trump into office.
          However, he is exacerbating most of them. …climate, environment, racism, economy, world relationships and more.

          Most importantly to the story we are commenting on, his infantile response to criticism and challenges is threatening to get us all killed.

  • Find your safe places snowflakes. Go!

    • What do you get out of making comments like this? Who are you even calling snowflakes? People who were terrified because they thought they were going to be killed by a missile? Other people who have commented? Because I really fail to see how one is a snowflake when they are falsely told that they are about to be obliterated, that would be truly, and rightfully terrifying.
      Is there something so intrinsically nasty and dark within your soul that you find some type of happiness or superiority casually throwing out a rude, incredibly unfeeling comment when it is absolutely inappropriate? What a sad, lonely, wretched small person you must be inside.

    • Conservative Stupidity

      There are no safe places for CONSERVATIVES: they are scared of EVERYTHING!

  • Well, good luck everybody. I’m not resigned to death — I feel pretty darn good, on the whole, so far — but at my age it would probably be better just to say my prayers and stand out where I can be obliterated instead of taking vital supplies like water and tequila away from people with whole decades as yet unlived. Certainly I do not want to live in a world where people are shooting at each other to protect their supply of water and tequila. Two good novels to read, “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy and “Golden Days” by Carolyn See: two totally different scenarios as to what life might be like following a “limited” nuclear war.

  • My bestie said she heard the sirens & went back to sleep. The proper response to nuclear war, eh?😁

  • Everyone should read or watch the 1957 book or movie called ON THE BEACH. it’s by Nevil Shute. The bombs have dropped and we watch Australia, as the last country to die, goes on waiting for the inevitable. I don’t believe the republican president even understands how it works and what will happen.

    We are on Maui….it was a big deal in the moment but no news made it less of a big deal.

    • That movie should be mandatory. I will never forget it.

    • Bunny
      You were my first thought when I heard the news. I am so glad that you are okay. I must have been quite a fright.
      I wonder what the real story behind this is. It is inconceivable that someone could launch a warning alert that easily, with no back up plan or plan for immediate cancellation. I only deal in realities and the reality is that something stinks.

  • The new norm under president trump.

    • Conservative Stupidity

      Good job not capitalizing Hair Hitler The Flaming Orange Satan Chump trump’s name.

    • Simple speaks as simple sees. False alerts are the new norm? Panicking the new norm? Exaggerated and unreasoning fearmongering the new norm?

  • Heard from a friend whose family was at a base in Hawaii that they were in the process of evacuating when their commander called and let them know the system was hacked. I can’t imagine how frightening this must’ve been.

    • I can’t imagine how horrifying it had to have been either! So scary.

    • Wasn’t actually hacked. An emergency system worker pushed the wrong button that didn’t allow the statement “This is a test”. According to the governor and head of emergency systems.

      • Maybe. Maybe not. My hunch is that an anti trumper was making a public demonstration sure to get everyone’s attention. Or not. Trust has been eroded. People are behaving melodramatically and calling it integrity.

  • So he bought Tequila? Yeah, that makes for sound thinking during a crisis. No surprise he’s hanging out in Hawaii. Eating and drinking to excess are national pastimes (in America, not just Hawaii).

  • I agree with Michael in Hawaii. Grab the wife, dog, whiskey, smoke, beef jerky and huddle up. Let er rip. Gas and tears won’t help when it happens.

  • My daughter and her family are over there. It was damn scary for her. She’s thankful the kids didn’t know what was going on.

  • One nuclear armed ballistic missile can ruin your entire day.

  • That'll get your attention

    It’s obviously Trump’s fault. But I think Kim wants LA or SF, not Kona.

  • >”It’s obviously Trump’s fault. But I think Kim wants LA or SF, not Kona.”

    NK… I think it would be extremely ‘lucky’ for a missile to actually reach Hawaii.
    I don’t think that NK knew exactly where the missile’s they have launched… have ended up.

    Alert may be a ‘test run’ to boost popularity for frump. Dunno.

  • I’m from Mendocino too. We are in Hawaii now, and we really thought it was real and we were going to die. It says seek shelter, but it’s not like we have a bomb shelter on hand! There was nothing to do but wait. To make matters worse there were car accidents on the island today and we heard many sirens. Traffic was backed up and people were scared.

  • Why worry It would just go into the volcano and disappear, the lava would put it out, no problem. Its fiiine, your fiiine, we’re fiiine, their fiiine, no woorries.

  • “Damn these sausage fingers! I would trade half of thee for dexterity…”

  • Don’t forget about the water in the back of the toilet,could live for weeks on that.

  • Might be a good time to dust off the fallout map, and make preparations.

  • False flag coming? Or did one fail.

  • they forgot to add, bend over and kiss your butt good-bye..

  • Well, once again I read all your comments and they stretched from one end to the other, with not much in between. The points made of liberals, conservatives, NWO being responsible are good, and we would hope to find out the truth, but they are not much help in a real nuclear attack. Here’s my two cents worth.

    When I viewed the memorial museum in Nagasaki Japan, fifty years after being bombed, the only evidence of the bombing was the museum, and some melted rock walls at ground zero. The hand bones fused to a rock in the museum were disturbing. Being the only non-Japanese person there was discomfortable to me, but no one there seemed to take notice. The Japanese are very polite folks.

    When I took CBRD training (chemical biological radiation defense) the problems I was given for radiation were typically a bomb going off twenty miles away, and not in the blast area, so the structure you were in was not destroyed. The radiation went up steeply and lethally for 45 minutes, then tapered off over about eight hours, so you were required to get to a safe spot quickly. The 200 rad lifetime dosage would be reached if you were out in the open in ten to fifteen minutes. Underground, say in a large culvert under the highway, or in the bottom of a multistory building, the radiation was less than 4% of the outside exposure level.

    My job was to run up to where the radiation meter was located, at the top on the structure where the radiation was the highest, compute the rate of rise/decline in three minutes, and run back. I could only do it three or four times before reaching the 200 rad limit, then someone else would do it.

    My question was this; if you knew the area you were in was 4% of maximum, why not compute it from that spot? Or have a remote readout? Instructors didn’t like those questions, and answered me with “The meter is fixed at the top and you do not have a portable meter, or remote readout”. OK, yes sir.

    The radiation comes in different forms. Some passes through you instantly, and there is nothing you can do, but it is not supposed to be lethal. Some arrives after a few minutes and you can shelter to avoid most of it, say 96%, and it will be lethal if you stay out in the open. Some comes down as fallout from dust, which is why you should not go out and act as a tourist.

    If you want to survive an attack, which the military trains people to do, so they can live on to fight again I suppose, then find a shelter quickly, bring water if you can, shelter in place 24 hours, then go out to take a quick peek but go back to shelter. Repeat until you find rescue personnel, or die of thirst if you don’t have water. Surface water will be contaminated, depending on how much fallout there is/was, but a spring should not.

    If you build a bomb shelter at home, provide for three feet of dirt (six is better), stock with food and water for two weeks.

    The photos taken three days after the bombing of Nagasaki showed a large city totally destroyed, with only one large arch remaining from a temple. Everyone in the blast zone died. It also showed a few people walking around the debris. They were the rescue personnel, not survivors.

    Last note. Tequila is not advised, except to sterilize wounds.

  • Thank you for this information. Some of the old Civil Defense Radiation Detectors like the CDV 700, did have probes which could be located remotely. My neighbor worked at the Rad Lab, and their home had a fully equipped bomb shelter. I think the weapons of that era were far less powerful.

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