The alert sent people scrambling for shelter and their cars.
This is only a test.
Social media ignited Saturday after apparent screenshots of cell phone emergency alerts warning of a "ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii" began circulating, which United States officials quickly dismissed as "false". "Get inside, stay inside, and if there's an all clear given, that's how you'll be notified", said Brig.
The alert was also broadcast on television in Hawaii.
Social media erupted as a flurry of people shared the shocking communication.
"We just weren't sure what to do", Lee told The News.
"If it was real, we would have been gone already", he said.
A second emergency alert was sent to phones in Hawaii 38 minutes after the initial message confirming the false alarm. Some things that get reported by the media will later turn out to be wrong.
"There was a sense of disbelief, everybody was walking around shaking their heads", Lee said.
They received a emergency alert on their iPhones that read in capital letters: "BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT IN BOUND TO HAWAII".
Others on the island said the current political climate accentuated the fear. "I thought 'No, this is not happening today, '" Malapit said, adding he was still "a little freaked out" and feeling paranoid even after hearing it was a false alarm. "Still shaking", tweeted journalist Ryan Ozawa.
In recent months, however, Hawaii has started testing its nuclear readiness - even deploying an alarm system last month that had not been used in decades.
The first, erroneous warning was sent out by the Emergency Alert System (EAS), a government program created to issue threat alerts to Americans during times of national emergency.
North Korean President Kim Jong-un has threatened to unleash his country's growing missile weapon capability against the USA territory of Guam or US states, prompting President Donald Trump to threaten tough actions against Pyongyang, including "fire and fury". They live with the reality of this message popping up on their phones.
This worker really knew how to push Hawaii's buttons.