Mistaken missile warning

A Kelowna family currently vacationing in Maui woke up to what they thought was a life-threatening situation on Saturday.

A push alert was sent to cellphones of people in Hawaii just before 8 a.m., saying in all capital letters: "Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill."

Kelowna resident Madeleine Lunelli and her family were among the people swept up in the chaos, which ended up being a false alarm.

"I have never been so scared in my life. It was just pure panic, like tunnel vision. My husband and I picked up our two kids and ran. I didn’t even have shoes on," she told Castanet.

"We took our kids to the local bomb shelter. It turns out it was a false alarm but we didn't know for about 30 minutes."

Hawaii's Emergency Management Agency is trying to determine how the notification was sent out, according to spokesman Richard Repoza.

The unsettling false alarm in the U.S. State drew a frenzy on social media as well.

Hawaii U.S. Senator Brian Schatz Tweeted afterwards that the push alert was a human error.

"What happened today is totally inexcusable. The whole state was terrified. There needs to be tough and quick accountability and a fixed process," Schatz said.

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