Text alert of ballistic missile threat to Hawaii false alarm, officials say

"This was purely a state exercise", the official said.

"This system we have been told to rely upon failed and failed miserably today", Saiki said.

Ige said the incorrect alert, "was a mistake made during a standard procedure at the change over of a shift and an employee pushed the wrong button". "Clearly, government agencies are not prepared and lack the capacity to deal with emergency situations".

An alert, warning of an imminent ballistic missile strike, caused widespread panic and fear in Hawaii on Saturday.

Hawaii emergency officials later determined that the alert sent to people's cellphones on Saturday was a false alarm. "Over 1 million people in my state of Hawaii are being faced with the reality that they've got 15 minutes to find a place to take shelter".

A video of a television soccer match showed what the alert looked and sounded like scrolling across the screen.

White House spokesperson Lindsay Walters referred all questions about the alert to the Department of Defense.

Trump is spending the weekend in Florida.

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Hawaii residents received a message: "Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii seek immediate shelter". But officials soon confirmed that it was a false alarm.

The warning came across the Emergency Alert System, which authorities nationwide use to delivery vital emergency information to the public.

Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii said the false alarm was "human error". Nearly immediately people on Twitter speculated the alert was a mistake or the result of a hack.

"What the people of Hawaii went through.is a true realization that they've got 15 minutes to get to shelter or they're going to be dead", Rep. Gabbard told MSNBC. The cause of the false alert is not yet known.

Hawaii's emergency management agency is trying to figure out what happened.

The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency tweeted at 8:20 a.m. local time that there was no missile threat to the state.

Takapuna teenager Emma Bullock, who is on holiday in Hawaii with her family of five, said she believed she would not live to see her 18th birthday tomorrow when the alert went out.

  • Sonia Alvarado