Two Guam radio stations terrified locals Monday night after accidentally broadcasting a missile warning klaxon developed by the island’s government – convincing a handful of residents that they were on the cusp of nuclear oblivion.
The message was mistakenly broadcast because of “human error” by both the KTWG and KSTO radio stations, according to the Sun, a UK tabloid. The paper neglected to explain how employees working independently at two different radio stations managed to make the same mistake at almost the exact same time.
“The alarm read: ‘A broadcast station or cable system has issued a civil danger warning for the following countries/areas: Guam; at 12:25 a.m. on Aug. 15, 2017, effective until 12:40 a.m. Message from KTWGKSTO.’”
A handful of “concerned residents” called police after hearing the warning, according to local media reports. However, the messages’ lack of information about a specific threat should’ve been a clue to listeners that the broadcast was either an error or a test, according to BNO News.
“The unauthorized test was NOT connected to any emergency, threat or warning,” Guam Homeland Security and Civil Defense (GHS/OCD) said in a statement. “GHS/OCD has worked with KSTO to ensure the human error will not occur again.”
Guam Homeland Security Adviser George Charfauros reminded residents that they should remain calm even in the event of a credible threat because the US government has the “capabilities in place” to safeguard the island.
“Residents and visitors are reminded to remain calm, even with the continued unconfirmed reports throughout the media,” Guam Homeland Security Advisor George Charfauros said in a statement. “Remember there is no change in threat level, we continue business as usual and know there are U.S. Department of Defense capabilities in place.”
Defense Secretary James Mattis said something similar Monday while speaking with a group of reporters. The former general claimed the US has defenses in place that could intercept an ICBM launched by the North, though tests of the US’s ICBM-defense systems have been less than stellar.
As BNO explains, Guam has found its way to the center of the escalating tensions between North Korea and the US after Kim Jong Un threatened to fire four Hwasong ICBMs at the US territory, which is home to 162,000 Americans, if US President Donald Trump continued to escalate his belligerent rhetoric. In a possible sign of détente, North Korean media reported that Kim was backing away from his Guam threats after discussing a plan of attack with military leaders. The island is also home to several military installations.