Hawaiians received a false alarm on Saturday warning of an inbound ballistic missile and causing instant, widespread panic.
The alert turned out to be a false alarm.
"I can't believe if someone pushed the wrong button accidentally that it would take 38 minutes to correct it", said U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, adding that her husband was on the highway when the alert was sent out and people started "driving 100 miles per hour".
With just minutes to prepare for the worst, those in Hawaii did the best they could to brace themselves for the threat of an imminent missile impact.
House Speaker Scott Saiki says someone pushed the wrong button, sending an alert to cellphone users across the islands warning of them of an impending missile strike.
The Pentagon did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency tweeted 12 minutes after the alert was issued to say it was a false alarm.
The alert moved in all capital letters on social media at 8:07 a.m. local time and was sent to cellphones.
"The whole state was terrified", he said.
"This was purely a state exercise", she said. "Hawaii's civil defense system failed Hawaii's residents this morning", said state Sen.
Hawaii's emergency management system does not have this capability on its own and would rely on the military's verification and analysis of the threat, he said.
"There were sort of various levels of panic so you had people that were scrambling to get in their cars and try and get out and there were people that were running towards the parking garage to try and seek shelter underground", he said. "There needs to be tough and quick accountability and a fixed process", he wrote.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission announced that it was initiating a full probe into the incident. The follow up message indicated this was a false alarm.
The incident happened amid high global tensions over North Korea's development of a ballistic nuclear weapon.
Hawaii also recently started conducting tests of its nuclear attack siren for the first time since the end of the Cold War.