A New Zealander on holiday in Hawaii has described the intense moment beach-goers rushed to pick up their belongings after a cellphone alert was mistakenly sent out warning of an incoming ballistic missile.
Krysia Lanigan was at Hanauma Bay on the island of O'ahu with her 10-year-old when she noticed hundreds of people "rushing around" and "packing things up quickly" which prompted her to check her phone.
"There was an emergency alert, like New Zealand were send during a civil emergency except we were given a warning of an incoming ballistic missile," Ms Lanigan told 1 NEWS.
The alert read 'Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.'
Ms Lanigan said "people were very concerned and the Park Rangers announced that everyone had to clear the beach and head to higher ground."
Forty minutes later Ms Lanigan said another alert was sent out stating the message was sent by mistake.
"That is a very long time and of course there is no where to take shelter."
"We got a taxi back to the hotel and it was on the ride back that the recall warning was sent."
The taxi driver spoke to Ms Lanigan about the alert who stated, "an emergency beacon usually sounds before they would get a warning like this but it had never happened before."
"It was a big mistake. There was a long period of 40 minutes to contemplate and plan and in some people's cases panic.
"Persoanlly, I was just keen to be anywhere else and safe."
Hawaii Emergency Management Agency took to Facebook to state, "NO missile threat to Hawaii. False alarm. We're currently investigating."