The Terrifying Moment a Fake Missile Alert Interrupted Hawaiian TV

Hawaiian residents watching television on Saturday morning were greeted by a terrifying Emergeny Alert System message that turned out to be entirely false.

Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast

Hawaii residents were greeted Saturday morning by an emergency alert warning of an imminent missile attack.

While the scare turned out to be a false alarm—one resulting from “human error,” per Sen. Brian Schatz—the warning gave Hawaiians an undoubtedly terrifying moment on an otherwise quiet weekend morning.

Many residents received the horrifying but fake news while watching broadcast television, with the urgent Emergency Alert System’s tone blaring, a red band with text appearing atop their screens, and a programmed voice saying:

“The U.S. Pacific Command has detected a missile threat to Hawaii. A missile may impact on land or sea within minutes. This is not a drill. If you are indoors, stay indoors. If you are outdoors, seek immediate shelter in a building. Remain indoors well away from windows. If you are driving, pull safely to the side of the road and seek shelter in a building or lay on the floor. We will announce when the threat has ended. Take immediate action measures. This is not a drill.”

On NBC, viewers of the Tottenham vs. Everton soccer match was interrupted by the message:

On CBS, viewers of the Florida vs. Ole Miss NCAA men’s basketball game were in for a shock:

And on ABC, those who might’ve been viewing an infomercial for prostate medication received the advisory. There’s some truly juxtapositional irony in the words “CIVIL DANGER WARNING” being blared over an ad with the caption “Comfortable and Happy Life” featuring an elderly couple dancing on the beach: