HONOLULU — A message warning Hawaii residents to seek shelter due to the imminent threat of a ballistic missile on Saturday morning was a false alarm, officials said.
“BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL,” read the alert to people’s phones, which immediately caused a panic among residents and on social media.
However, a spokesperson for the North American Aerospace Defense Command told BuzzFeed News the incident was a false alarm.
“There is no missile threat,” Lt. Commander Joe Nawrocki told BuzzFeed News. “We’re trying to figure out where this came from or how this started. There is absolutely no incoming ballistic missile threat to Hawaii right now.”
“My phone’s been blowing up,” he added.
Nawrocki referred requests for information to Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency, where a representative also told BuzzFeed News the message was a false alarm.
“We’re in a process of sending another message to cancel the initial message. It was part of a drill that was going on,” the spokesperson said.
The agency later tweeted, “NO missile threat to Hawaii.”
Hawaii has been on edge in recent months amid an escalating war of words between the US and North Korea.
Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard also told residents the message was a false alarm.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates or follow BuzzFeed News on Twitter.