Someone "pushed the wrong button" to send out a false alert to warn of an inbound ballistic missile alarm to Hawaiians on Saturday, according to Hawaii Gov. David Ige.
The incident occurred during an employee shift change, Ige added during a news conference.
Hawaii Gov. Ige says the false alarm happened after an employee "pushed the wrong button" during a "procedure that occurs at the change of shift" pic.twitter.com/9wVKIFqBEN— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) January 13, 2018
Ige had been meeting with officials with the State Department of Defense and the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency after the mishap.
When asked who was at fault, EMA administrator Vern Miyagi took responsibility.
"It's my responsibility, so this would be my fault," he told reporters. "We'll take action to prevent this from ever happening again."
Miyagi promised reforms, including having more than one person in charge of sending out an alert and equipment changes, and stressed the importance of allowing a full investigation.
Hawaii EMA administrator: "It's my responsibility so this would be my fault...we'll take action to prevent this from ever happening again." pic.twitter.com/rYZixUptQP— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) January 13, 2018
Cellphones, televisions, and radio stations received the morning emergency alert, which claimed it was not a drill.
Local officials and the U.S. Pacific Command have since confirmed that the emergency alert was sent out in error to residents of the island chain, which recently tested out a Cold War-era nuclear warning siren in response to North Korea's missile and nuclear weapons programs.
Lawmakers and Ige are seeking answers for what exactly happened so that the mistake will not be repeated.
"While I am thankful this morning’s alert was a false alarm, the public must have confidence in our emergency alert system. I am working to get to the bottom of this so we can prevent an error of this type in the future," Ige said in a statement.
The White House put out a statement to say President Trump has been briefed on the situation.
"The President has been briefed on the state of Hawaii's emergency management exercise. This was purely a state exercise," said White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters.