Hawaii emergency officials confirmed Saturday that an alert warning that a ballistic missile was inbound to the island was a mistake.
Earlier Saturday, Hawaiian citizens reported receiving an emergency alert on their phone that stated: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”
House Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, tweeted in regard to the alert: “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 tweeted that there was “NO missile threat” to the state.
Hawaii Emergency Management agency spokesman Richard Repoza said the alert was a false alarm. He said the agency was working to determine what happened.
The alert created panic for residents on the island and across social media.
Fox News’ Chad Pergram said he spoke to two people on the Kona side of the island who said they were told to stay in their hotel room and that there was a missile incoming.
Greg Gutfeld, of Fox News’ “The Five” and “The Greg Gutfeld Show,” tweeted that his wife was at a hotel in Hawaii and called the situation “total hysteria/chaos.” He added that families who were evacuating were told to “seek shelter. crying. panic.”
Cdr. Dave Benham, a spokesman for U.S. Pacific Command, told Fox News they have “detected no ballistic missile threat to Hawaii. Earlier message was sent in error. State of Hawaii will send out a correction message as soon as possible.”
Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, tweeted “it was a false alarm based on human error. There is nothing more important to Hawaii than professionalizing and fool-proofing this process.”
Schatz wrote in a separate tweet that what happened was “totally inexcusable.”
“The whole state was terrified. There needs to be tough and quick accountability and a fixed process,” the senator wrote.
The second alert sent by Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency telling citizens there was no threat arrived approximately 38 minutes after the ballistic warning threat.
Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, tweeted that she would work to find out what occurred.
“Today’s alert was a false alarm,” Hirono wrote. “At a time of heightened tensions, we need to make sure all information released to the community is accurate. We need to get to the bottom of what happened and make sure it never happens again.”
A White House official said President Trump, who is spending the weekend in Florida, has been briefed on the incident, which they said “was purely a state exercise.”
Hawaii Gov. David Ige said in a statement that “While I am thankful this morning’s alert was a false alarm, the public must have confidence in our emergency alert system. I am working to get to the bottom of this so we can prevent an error of this type in the future.”
The statement noted Ige is meeting with top officials from the State Department of Defense and the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency “to determine what caused this morning’s false alarm and to prevent it from happening again.”
Fox News’ Jennifer Bowman, Lee Ross, Lucas Tomlinson and Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.