HONOLULU — A fake threat was circulated about an earthquake in Japan and a subsequent tidal wave, according to officials in Hawaii.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center on Oahu said there is no tsunami threat in the Pacific after a “fabricated message was circulated,” news outlets reported Tuesday.
The bogus message went out after 4 p.m. on a global telecommunications system used by the World Meteorological Organization based in Switzerland.
The message said a magnitude 8.0 earthquake occurred in Japan near Nagasaki, although the coordinates given were not accurate.
“It was fabricated, it was not a real message and there was no earthquake in Japan,” said Chip McCreery, director of the center operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The center received inquiries from global weather agencies and tsunami monitoring stations. Officials provided assurances there was no earthquake or tsunami threat, with additional messages posted on social media.
Unlike the false ballistic missile threat issued to cellphones in Hawaii last year, the tsunami warning was only shared on a closed communication channel.
“It’s a type of circuit that should be dedicated and secure, only within the meteorological services of the various countries,” McCreery said.
The National Weather Service will investigate, he said.
“I think they will be able to determine at least a general idea of where that message came from and hopefully put something in effect to prevent that from happening in the future,” McCreery said.