Residents of Guam have been mistakenly subjected to an emergency radio alert warning amid fears of an attack by North Korea, an alarm that local authorities blamed on “human error.”
Guamanians were sent into a panic early on Tuesday, after two radio stations broadcast a warning about “a civil danger” for approximately 15 minutes.
“The unauthorized test was NOT connected to any emergency, threat or warning,” Guam Homeland Security said in a statement, adding that it was working with the two stations “to ensure the human error will not occur again.”
The alert prompted George Charfauros, Guam’s homeland security adviser, to call on residents to “remain calm,” and to announce that the Pacific islanders were still at risk.
“Remember there is no change in threat level, we continue business as usual and know there are US Department of Defense capabilities in place. We continue communication with our federal and military partners and have not received official statement warranting any concern for imminent threat to Guam or the Marianas,” Charfauros noted.
North Korea said last week it was finalizing plans to launch four missiles into the waters near Guam.
The plan was announced after US President Donald Trump threatened to unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea. Trump has also said the US military is “locked and loaded” to deal with the North.
Guam is home to more than 162,000 inhabitants and it houses a US military base that includes a submarine squadron, an airbase and a Coast Guard group. About 6,000 troops are based there.
Guam is also armed with a sophisticated US weapons system known as THAAD, which is a ground-based missile system designed to shoot down short-, medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles.