For 38 minutes in Hawaii on Saturday morning, terror reigned.
A dire warning appeared as an alert on people’s phones. It turned out the warning of an inbound ballistic missile was a false alarm, but before learning that, many braced for the worst.
Hospital patients were moved, children were ushered into storm drains for cover and many sent panicked messages to loved ones.
“My friend’s mom called her crying saying goodbye. My other friend was huddled downstairs with her toddlers. This is not ok,” wrote Kaniela Ing, a state legislator, on Twitter.
The emergency alert, which was sent to cellphones just before 8:10 a.m., said in all caps, “Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.”
The false alert was reportedly sent out when an employee pressed the wrong button.