Updated at 3:30 p.m.
Hawaii emergency management officials say a push alert that warned of an incoming ballistic missile to Hawaii on Saturday was a mistake.
The emergency alert sent to cellphones said in all caps, “Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.”
The alert also broke through on television stations across Hawaii.
Representative Tulsi Gabbard was one of the first to confirm that there was not a real threat.
HAWAII – THIS IS A FALSE ALARM. THERE IS NO INCOMING MISSILE TO HAWAII. I HAVE CONFIRMED WITH OFFICIALS THERE IS NO INCOMING MISSILE.
Hawaii Emergency Management Agency spokesman Richard Repoza says it’s a false alarm.
NO missile threat to Hawaii.
He says the agency is trying to determine what happened.
U.S. Pacific Command has detected no ballistic missile threat to Hawaii. Earlier message was sent in error. State of Hawaii will send out a correction message as soon possible.
It took almost 40 minutes for an official statement to come out about the alert.
The incident prompted defense agencies including the Pentagon and the U.S. Pacific Command to issue the same statement, that they had “detected no ballistic missile threat to Hawaii.”
Michael Kucharek, spokesman for the North American Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado Springs, Colorado, said NORAD and the U.S. Northern Command are still trying to verify what happened in Hawaii — but that “NORAD did not see anything that indicated any sort of threat to Hawaii.”
NORAD is a U.S.-Canada joint command that conducts aerospace warning, aerospace control and maritime warning to defend North America.
The White House said President Donald Trump, who is in Florida, was briefed on the false alert. White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said it “was purely a state exercise.”
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said on social media the panel would launch an investigation.
The alert stirred panic for residents on the island and across social media.
6 mins into our ride here in Hawaii and this is the text I just received? Not sure what to do. Sirens are going off.
AGAIN FALSE ALARM. What happened today is totally inexcusable. The whole state was terrified. There needs to be tough and quick accountability and a fixed process.
Emergency officials here in California say they’re monitoring the situation in Hawaii.
Brad Alexander is a spokesman for the state office of Emergency Services.
He says, in California, similar alerts would have to be sent by a highly trained operator.
“There’s a lot of agencies that can do notifications and they have a lot of training and special classes to do these types of alerts,” he said.
Alexander says to his knowledge there has never been a statewide false alert of this kind in California.