People in Hawaii have shared harrowing accounts after receiving a false ballistic missile threat alert on Saturday.
Residents woke up to an incorrect message sent to their mobile phones this morning warning that an attack on the North Pacific US state was imminent.
But about 30 minutes later the US military’s Pacific Command said it “detected no ballistic missile threat to Hawaii” and that the message warning had been sent in error.
The incident occurred amid high international tensions over North Korea’s development of a ballistic nuclear weapon.
Kim Jong-un has threatened to unleash his country’s growing missile weapon capability against the US territory of Guam or US states, prompting Donald Trump to threaten tough actions against Pyongyang.
The message was sent by text at 8:07am local time (18:07 GMT) and it took about 30 minutes for officials to send a follow-up text correcting the alert.
Many people who were in Hawaii or have loved ones currently in the US state shared their harrowing ordeals on social media.
A spokeswoman for US Representative Tulsi Gabbard said she checked with the state agency that issued the alert and was told it was sent in error.
The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency’s Twitter account also said “NO missile threat to Hawaii.”
Hawaii has a population of about 1.4 million people, according to the US Census Bureau, and is home to the U.S. Pacific Command, the Navy’s Pacific Fleet and other elements of the American military.
In November, Hawaii said it would resume monthly statewide testing of Cold War-era nuclear attack warning sirens for the first time in at least a quarter of a century, in preparation for a possible missile strike from North Korea, Reuters reports.
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