People across the US state of Hawaii received a text on Saturday morning, warning of an impending missile strike.
It was declared a false alarm shortly afterwards, but not before panic started to spread.
“Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill,” read the message, all in capital letters.
Hawaii Emergency Management Agency later confirmed there was no threat.
In an online statement, Honolulu Police Department said: “State Warning Point has issued a Missile Alert in ERROR! There is NO threat to the State of Hawaii!”
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser said emergency officials had mistakenly sent the message out by text at 08:07 (18:07 GMT) before correcting the error by email 18 minutes later. There was no follow-up mobile text until 38 minutes after the original alert, it said.
It was unclear how the initial mistake was made.
NO missile threat to Hawaii.
— Hawaii EMA (@Hawaii_EMA) January 13, 2018
In December, Hawaii tested its nuclear warning siren for the first time since the end of the Cold War.
It came amid a growing threat from North Korea’s missile and nuclear programme. Hawaii is the closest state to North Korea.
In September Pyongyang carried out its sixth nuclear test.
Last month, the Star-Advertiser also reported that a missile launched from North Korea could strike Hawaii within 20 minutes of launch.