Internet traffic caused the SD Amber Alert site to crash on Tuesday night

Cell phones rang in South Dakota on Tuesday night as a An Amber Alert has been issued for two Canadian children who were traveling with their non-custodial mother and her partner.

But the text alert contained little information. Issued at 11:05 p.m., the alert asked people to check the Amber Alert website and their local media. Alerts broadcast on television also contained little information. When trying to access the website for more information, the page crashed for some users for several minutes.

The SD Alert emails were not received until nearly 40 minutes after the push alert was sent, giving members of the media the power to access the Amber Alert website as it loaded.

So what was wrong?

Too much traffic to South Dakota Amber Alert website

In an emailed statement to Chief Argus, South Dakota State Spokesperson Tony Mangan said the South Dakota Amber Alert website was slow due to heavy traffic.

When the news loaded, people were able to access the information and the children were found safe near Sturgis hours after the alert was posted.

After:Amber Alert canceled for Canadian children after discovery in South Dakota

“It is important to remember that the system worked and found the children safely,” DCI wrote in a statement to Chief Argus.

Why was the Amber Alert not issued sooner?

An Amber Alert for the two children was issued Monday by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Saskatchewan, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

It wasn’t until a Tuesday afternoon news conference that police announced they believed the two children and adults were in South Dakota, according to CBC. The alert was extended to include the state later in the evening.

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DCI said it takes time to coordinate responses between states, or in this case countries, “because it’s important to gather the correct information and coordinate resources.”

Why doesn’t the statewide push alert contain more information?

In other states, such as Colorado, Amber Alerts issued over the phone will list the make and model of vehicle the children were last seen in.

DCI did not respond to a question about why the state is not putting more information in the alert.

Hasn’t this happened before?

In late August 2021, an Amber Alert was issued for three children abducted from Rosebud. Twenty-five minutes later, the the alert has been canceled.

But the same problems that happened on Tuesday happened last year. The website crashed, showing a 503 message, and people took notice. Not only the Amber Alert site went down, but also the Attorney General’s website.

Right after the alert was sent, the Criminal Investigation Department received a call that the children had been found to safety by Rosebud authorities.

After:‘Don’t neglect us’: Slow deployment of Amber Alert reflects missing and murdered Indigenous crisis

In Tuesday’s case, DCI said they would review what went right and what went wrong to further improve their response going forward.

Follow Annie Todd on Twitter @AnnieTodd96. Reach her with tips, questions, and other community news at [email protected] or call her at 605-215-3757.