At approximately 8:05 a.m. HST and 10:05 a.m PST, the Hawaii Emergency Broadcast system sent a message to phones and across television/radio stations warning, "Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii". When the alert came, she said, she piled her mother, 15-year-old son, two-year-old daughter and partner into the vehicle, swung by her other son's workplace to pick him up, and then sped to her office at the botanical gardens - a building with concrete walls that is used as a hurricane shelter.
"This is stark reality, sadly, that the people of Hawaii are facing today with this threat from North Korea, and the sad reality that these shelters don't exist, so the answers to these questions that people were frantically thinking and asking and wondering this morning, they have not been answered", Gabbard continued.
"False alarm. But for all the other misfires and rogue sirens here, what does it say that we live in a time where we have to assume it's possible?"
Tulsi Gabbard tweeted confirmation that there was not a missile headed toward her island state.
Hawaii is considered a vulnerable target because it's on the flight path between the USA mainland and North Korea, which has been conducting intercontinental ballistic missile tests by Kim Jong-un.
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"People got this message on their phones and they thought 15 minutes, 'We've got 15 minutes before me and my family could be dead", she said.
Hawaii's governor David Ige told CNN that human error was responsible for the alert being sent out.
"There is nothing more important to Hawaii than professionalizing and fool-proofing this process", he added.
That was the verdict of musician Darcy Hanneman, one of many in the USA state of Hawaii who received a terrifying - and incorrect - warning that a ballistic missile was heading their way. "It was part of a drill that was going on", a spokesperson from Hawaii's Emergency Management Agency told BuzzFeed News.
Hawaii Gov. David Ige vowed to "get to the bottom of this" and said he'd be meeting with the Defense department and the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency so that is doesn't happen again.
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About 40 minutes after the initial message was sent, emergency services sent out the following message, confirming that Hawaii isn't in danger.
"At a time of heightened tensions, we need to make sure all information released to community is accurate", she wrote. Efforts to reach Hawaii's Emergency Management Agency were unsuccessful.
It was declared a false alarm 20 minutes later, but not before panic started to spread.
Actor Jim Carrey said on Twitter that he woke up the news on the island with a notification, before criticising US President Donald Trump about his handling of the North Korean crisis.
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