Hawaii receives false alert on a ballistic-missile bound threat

An incoming missile alert plunged residents of Hawaii into panic on Saturday morning before it was declared to be false.

Some professional golfers taking part in the Sony Open in Honolulu were also caught off guard.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser says emergency officials mistakenly sent the message out by text, all in capital letters, at 08:07 (18:07 GMT) before correcting the error by email 18 minutes later.

Hawaii's Emergency Management Agency likewise confirmed that there was no threat, and that it was investigating the incident.

CNN reported Ige told reporters that the mistake was the result of human error and someone at the state emergency management agency pushed the "wrong button" during a shift change.

David Ige said the alert was caused by an employee pushing the wrong button by accident.

Screenshots of iPhone emergency alerts filled social media, as people on the island tried to figure out what was happening. The snafu sent panicked residents scrambling to find shelters before they realized the alarm was unwarranted. She said she thought the island's air-raid sirens would be blaring in the event of a real missile threat.

But for almost 40 minutes, it seemed like the world was about to end in Hawaii, an island paradise already jittery over the threat of nuclear-tipped missiles from North Korea.

Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono backed up the idea on Twitter, saying "at a time of heightened tensions, we need to make sure all information released to the community is accurate". White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said it "was purely a state exercise".

The alert was attached to live sports being broadcast in Hawaii, Deadspin reports.

The state was only able to recall the alert 40 minutes after it was originally dispatched, which left fear-stricken residents in limbo awaiting catastrophe.

The alert caused a tizzy on the islands and across social media.

The FBI's Strategic Information and Operations Center, Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency are monitoring the situation, a United States official told CNN.

Hawaiians and tourists received a text-message Saturday morning notifying them that an intercontinental ballistic missile was heading straight towards them, meaning their lives were in imminent danger.

He says the agency is trying to determine what happened.

Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii called the mistaken notification "totally inexcusable", blaming it on "human error".

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