The US Pacific Command announced later that it had "detected no ballistic missile threat to Hawaii", calling the text message warning an error.
Hawaiian residents generally know that after an alert is issued, they have about 15 to 20 minutes before a missile from North Korea would make contact with the islands, Phil said.
But the warning turned out to be completely false, and the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency tweeted that there was no missile threat to the state.
"NO missile threat to Hawaii", the agency wrote on Twitter.
"Why did they wait 20 minutes to tell us?" Although Miyagi said there is a message "are you sure you want to send", it was sent anyway. "State of Hawaii will send out a correction message as soon as possible".
Gabbard, a Democrat, blamed President Donald Trump, who was at his Florida golf club on Saturday, for what she said was a failure to take the threat of North Korea seriously.
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After months of heightened nuclear tensions between the US and North Korea, frightened people scrambled for safety and communications were bogged down.
"People just started scurrying around, just trying to get into bathrooms, I was with my two girls, eight and 10 so kids were crying and nobody really knew what to do", Robbyn Leventhal, a Hawaii resident, told Al Jazeera.
At a little past 1 pm EST (8 am HST), Canadian national cross country mountain bike champion Emily Batty had just headed out for a training ride in Hawaii when an alert popped up onto her iPhone.
"HI-EMA has already taken measures to ensure that an incident such as the one that occurred this morning does not happen again".
Former Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Russ Reno was visiting friends in the islands when his wife Julie received the alert.
Williams - and the whole state of Hawaii - had no idea the alert was a mistake.