Worker who sent false Hawaii missile alert has been fired; Hawaii Emergency Management administrator resigns

A mistaken missile alert that caused widespread panic and confusion in Hawaii has led to the resignation of the state’s emergency management leader and the firing of the worker who sent the false warning.

Maj. Gen. Joe Logan, the state adjutant general, says Hawaii Emergency Management Agency administrator Vern Miyagi resigned Tuesday.

The employee who has been fired mistakenly sent an emergency alert to mobile devices and TV and radio stations warning of an incoming missile strike on Jan. 13.

Regulators say he mistook a drill for the real thing. Logan says a second worker had quit before disciplinary action was taken and another is being suspended without pay.


The Federal Communications Commission said Tuesday that the individual who sent the false alert refused to talk to the agency, but provided a written statement. The FCC says Hawaii has been testing alert capabilities, and he mistook a drill for a real warning about a missile threat. He responded by sending the alert. There was no sign-off from a supervisor.

The alert was sent to cellphones, TV and radio stations in Hawaii earlier this month, resulting in panic among Hawaiians.

The FCC says that once the false alert was sent, it took 38 minutes to correct it because Hawaii did not have a standardized system for sending such corrections.


1:00 p.m.: This article was updated with the firing of the worker who sent the alert.

This article was originally published at 8:50 a.m.