Hawaii officials say an emergency alert sent to cell phones warning of a "ballistic missile" heading to Hawaii was a false alarm and there is no threat.

Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz tweeted the incident was "a false alarm based on a human error."

"There is nothing more important to Hawai‘i than professionalizing and fool-proofing this process," Sen. Schatz tweeted. He added that "What happened today is totally inexcusable. The whole state was terrified. There needs to be tough and quick accountability and a fixed process."

The emergency alert, which was sent to cellphones in Hawaii around 8 a.m. local time on Saturday, said in all caps, "Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill."

Hawaii Emergency Management Agency spokesman Richard Repoza said it was a false alarm and the agency is trying to determine what happened.

"I have confirmed with officials there is no incoming missile," Rep. Gabbard quickly tweeted in response.

After the alert went out, there was panic on social media and confusion on the island.

An Assistant news director with KHOU, TEGNA's Houston station, was in Hawaii at the time of the false alarm and said they were initially told to stay in their hotel rooms. Then, they were told to go to the basement.

A Buzzfeed reporter noted another alert clarifying that the first was a mistake wasn't sent out to cell phones for nearly 40 minutes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.