A ballistic missile alert was issued across Hawaii, telling residents to seek immediate shelter along with a chilling warning- this is ‘not a drill’.
The warning, which interrupted Hawaiian TV, was also sent to citizens’ phones just after 8am on Saturday morning. It said: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER, THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”
However Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency said it was a false alarm adding that they were currently investigating.
Brain Schatz, a US Senator for Hawaii, said the text was sent due to “human error”.
The BBC reports: It was declared a false alarm shortly afterwards, but not before panic started to spread.
“Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill,” read the message, all in capital letters.
Hawaii Emergency Management Agency later confirmed there was no threat.
In an online statement, Honolulu Police Department said: “State Warning Point has issued a Missile Alert in ERROR! There is NO threat to the State of Hawaii!”
The Honolulu Star said emergency officials had mistakenly sent the message out by text at 08:07 (18:07 GMT) before correcting the error some 20 minutes later. It was unclear how the mistake was made.
In December, Hawaii tested its nuclear warning siren for the first time since the end of the Cold War.
It came amid a growing threat from North Korea’s missile and nuclear programme. Hawaii is the closest state to North Korea.