Hawaiians were sent scrambling Saturday morning after an emergency alert notification warned of a ballistic missile threat. It turned out to be an error.
Hundreds tweeted about the message, which appeared to pop up on cellphones shortly after 8 a.m. local time. It read, “Ballistic Missile Threat Inbound To Hawaii. Seek Immediate Shelter. This Is Not A Drill.”
The message sent at least a few people rushing for shelters as people pondered whether a missile was heading toward the island.
Minutes after the alert, officials said the alert was sent out in error.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, tweeted her all clear in all caps, saying the alert was sent out inadvertently. Hawaii officials confirmed to her there was no threat.
The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency gave its own all clear: “NO missile threat to Hawaii.”
The U.S. Department of Defense also put out its own message, saying the agency “detected no missile threat to Hawaii. Earlier message was sent in error.”
It’s not clear what caused the error. Efforts to reach Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency were unsuccessful.
Roughly a half hour later, another emergency notification was sent out, this time saying the first was a false alarm.
“There is no missile threat or danger to the State of Hawaii. Repeat. False Alarm,” the message read.
The unsettling notification comes after months of aggressive rhetoric from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who has threatened to strike the United States.
Hawaii is about 4,600 miles from North Korea’s capital Pyongyang. In November, Hawaii began testing warning sirens to prepare for a possible nuclear attack.
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