“Most people were obviously very relieved about everything, and the concern was real given that the wording of the message did not leave much to the imagination,” Luchs told CNBC. “With tensions with North Korea, everyone regarded this as a serious threat.”
Hawaiians were sent into a panic on Saturday after an alert claimed — falsely, as it turned out — that a ballistic missile was heading for the island.
The panic comes as tensions between the U.S. and North Korea have been heightened — a fact that was not lost on Hawaiians who were sent scrambling as the mistaken alert flooded cellphones across the island.
The alert momentarily put recipients into a state of frenzy, with scores reportedly running for shelter, until Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard debunked it as a false alarm. Hawaiian officials, as well as the U.S. Pacific Command, quickly followed suit.
Over the last several years, North Korea has tested a volley of ballistic missiles and repeatedly threatened the U.S. with nuclear conflict. Amid the threat, Hawaii last month tested a nuclear siren warning for the first time since the Cold War.