The authorities confirmed on Saturday that there was no ballistic missile headed toward Hawaii minutes after an emergency alert was sent to cellphones there urging people to seek immediate shelter, leading to chaos and confusion.
“BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII,” the alert said. “SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”
A corrected alert was sent out 38 minutes later.
“There is no missile threat or danger to the State of Hawaii,” it read. “Repeat. False Alarm.”
The episode came at a time of heightened tensions with North Korea, which has said that it has successfully tested ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States.
Representative Tulsi Gabbard, Democrat of Hawaii, tweeted shortly after the first alert was sent that she had confirmed that there was no missile.
Cmdr. David Benham, a spokesman for the United States Pacific Command, said in an emailed statement: “USPACOM has detected no ballistic missile threat to Hawaii. Earlier message was sent in error.”
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