HONOLULU — Dispatchers received “more calls than they could handle” after a false alert of a missile attack was issued in Hawaii, according to officials.
The Honolulu Star Advertiser reported that more than 5,000 911 calls were made after the alert, and around 2,500 callers could not get through, according to Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard.
This smartphone screen capture shows a false incoming ballistic missile emergency alert sent from the Hawaii Emergncy Management Agency system on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones)
Ballard added that dispatchers planned to get back to all of the callers to make sure no actual emergencies were occurring.
Honolulu Fire Chief Manuel Neves said two fire trucks were responding to medical emergencies at the time of the alert and returned to their stations after it was issued.
“Everybody stood their post,” Chief Neves said.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell said no injuries were reported as a result of the panic, and the only damage he heard that occurred was “when a guy in a golf cart” damaged the cart after receiving the alert.
Police were notified within minutes that the alarm was false, but city officials waited for state officials to issue the correction, as protocol instructed them to do.