Hawaii Island residents dialing 911 were unable to get through to dispatchers for over half an hour today, causing an unknown number of emergency calls to go unanswered.
The emergency phone system went down statewide, impacting the island from 2:55 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., according to the Hawaii County Police Department.
Police and fire departments could still be reached through non-emergency numbers, but police Sgt. Kelly Matsumoto said no calls were received while the emergency phone system was down.
“Normally, we get calls every so many seconds or minutes,” Matsumoto said.
Police were waiting to hear back from Hawaiian Telcom and didn’t immediately know what caused the emergency phone system to fail.
The phone company could not be immediately reached for comment.
As of 4:10 p.m., a backup system was being used, police said. It also wasn’t clear why it took 35 minutes for the backup system to be initiated.