The Latest: Man suffered heart attack after missile alert

January 16, 2018

This Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, photo provided by Jhune Liwanag shows a highway median sign broadcasting a message of "There is no threat" in Kaneohe, Hawaii. State emergency officials mistakenly sent out an emergency alert warning of an imminent missile strike, sending islanders into a panic. (Jhune Liwanag via The AP)

HONOLULU (AP) — The Latest on the faulty missile warning alert sent over the weekend by Hawaii’s emergency management agency (all times local):

10:30 a.m.

A man suffered a massive heart attack minutes after the false missile alert in Hawaii.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Tuesday that Sean Shields, 51, started violently throwing up while at the beach on Oahu.

The newspaper says he then called his 10-year-old daughter and adult son to say goodbye. Then he drove himself and with his girlfriend to a health center where she says he collapsed in the waiting room.

Shields’ girlfriend Brenda Reichel says medical staff performed CPR and transported the man to a hospital, where he had emergency surgery.

She says Shields had no previous heart problems.

9:20 a.m.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen says the agency will be working with states to follow proper protocols when issuing safety alerts and can quickly retract incorrect alerts like Hawaii’s warning of a ballistic missile over the weekend.

Sen Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, says it’s clear that human error initiated the false alert.

But she worries that system failures allowed it to go uncorrected for too long, nearly 40 minutes.

Hirono says “this had the potential for being totally catastrophic.”

Nielsen told a Senate panel Tuesday the department had been unaware that Hawaii officials did not have a mechanism in place to address false alarms and retract them.

She also says the Department of Homeland Security is examining how the U.S. government can quickly verify the accuracy of alerts with agencies such as the Department of Defense.


8:50 a.m.

Gov. David Ige has appointed a state Army National Guard official to oversee a review of Hawaii’s emergency management process after a faulty alert was sent to cellphones around the state warning of an incoming missile attack.

Ige appointed state Army National Guard Brig. Gen. Kenneth Hara on Monday.

The governor says Hara will provide a report in in two months.

Some changes have already been made, including requiring two people to approve emergency alerts.

Officials said a state employee clicked the wrong link and activated a real alert instead of an internal test.

There was no system for retracting the false alarm.


This story has been corrected to show Hara was appointed to oversee the emergency management review process, not lead the agency.

Update hourly