The message also appeared on Hawaii television stations, according to news reports. Authorities in the state have been preparing for a worse-case attack scenario since July, and residents would have around 15 minutes to seek shelter in case of a nuclear missile attack from North Korea.
Panic spread throughout the islands for an estimated 30 minutes, until state officials confirmed that the alert was a false alarm.
"I wondered what it is about and then was surprised to realize that it was a false alarm about a missile from North Korea".
Ajit Pai, chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission, announced the investigation on Twitter.
A NORAD spokesperson told Buzzfeed that they're "trying to figure out where this came from or how this started". Although Miyagi said there is a message "are you sure you want to send", it was sent anyway.
Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz also took to Twitter on Saturday in the wake of the false alarm.
Residents of USA state Hawaii were left in shock and despair after an alert warning of an incoming ballistic missile was sent in error on Saturday. "My brother was just about to leave for his class, and he told us that he got a threat on his phone, it said there's a bomb threat, a ballistic missile threat". Cindy McMillan, a spokeswoman for Gov. David Ige, told The Associated Press that the alert was human error, but she didn't have further details.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard tweeted a screenshot of the warning and a message saying it was false.
"It's ridiculous that one person could press one button and put the entire state in panic", Phil Russell said. Stacey Bow, 56, of Honolulu, said she received the emergency alert on her smart phone. Tourists and locals were just waking up as their phones buzzed with a short emergency alert. It was later confirmed that the message was a result of an employee's mistake and measures would be taken so this kind of terrifying thing never happens again.