Medicine Hat couple received false "ballistic missile" alert to cellphones in Hawaii.

By Brittney Matejka
January 14, 2018 - 5:20pm Updated: January 15, 2018 - 7:15pm


O’AHU, HAWAII – A local couple was on vacation when they received a startling alert to their cellphones Saturday morning.

Rob and Janice Kirchner of Medicine Hat, woke up to find a false emergency alert on their phone screens, reading: "BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL."

Janice said after reading her phone felt like mild shock.

“We checked the Hawaii news,” she said. “By the time we got onto the Hawaii news they had already identified it was a false alert.”

Hawaii officials confirmed the emergency alert was false and a mistake.

The couple frequents O’ahu a couple times a year. They explained they have been on the island during military training exercises involving loud alerting sirens, not hearing the sirens in the street indicated to them the threat wasn’t real.

“There was no panic in the streets or anything that we saw,” she said. “I am sure it happened in some places but where we were, we didn't see anything like that.”

She said in speaking with other people in the area they had heard of people scrambling after seeing the alerts on their phone screens.

“Some of the people who were in restaurants got the notification and left their tables without paying, (they) went back to the hotels to gather their stuff,” she explained.

Rob said the threat would of been scary if it had been true, it still made people on the island feel uneasy, causing the streets to be virtually empty after. 

“Today they are still talking about it when we went for breakfast,” he said. “Yesterday was panicky, but today not so much.”

The Kirchner’s said they had heard of flight cancellations yesterday as a precaution due to the alert. The pair is heading to the airport later on today for a flight back to Alberta, their flight is supposed to be on schedule. 


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