The employee, who officials say was using a computer program during a shift change drill and clicked through a warning prompt, has been reassigned within the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, said agency spokesman Richard Rapoza.
The organization will make a long-term decision on his status after a review, Rapoza said.
At a press conference Saturday, Emergency Management Agency Administrator Vern Miyagi said that the employee felt terrible about the mistake.
“It’s a human error. There is a screen that says, ‘are you sure you want to do this?’ That’s already in place,” Miyagi explained Saturday. “That thing was pushed anyway.”
Shortly after 8 a.m. Saturday, thousands of residents received the following message to their cell phones:
BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL
The error spread panic and fear across the islands until emergency officials finally pushed out a text alert correcting the message 38 minutes later.
HEMA suspended the drill after Saturday’s accident, and Miyagi said any subsequent drills will include two employees instead of just one.
Meanwhile, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement Sunday that based on what that the federal agency has found out so far, “it appears that the government of Hawaii did not have reasonable safeguards or process controls in place to prevent the transmission of a false alert.”
Gov. David Ige repeated his apology on behalf of the state government for the mishap in a statement Sunday.
“As a state government, we must learn from this unfortunate error and continue to prepare for any safety threat to Hawaii’s residents and visitors – whether it is a man-made threat or a natural disaster such as a hurricane or tsunami,” Ige’s statement read.
President Donald Trump, who did not tweet about the incident Saturday, weighed in Sunday, according to Kelly O’Donnell of NBC News:
Tonight @realDonaldTrump on Hawaii missile alert. “We are going to now get involved with them. I love that they took responsibility. They took total responsibility, but we are going to get involved. Their attitude and what they want to do I think it’s terrific.“
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