An emergency missile alert accidentally went out to everyone in Hawaii over the weekend, causing a panic across the island for nearly 40 minutes.
Hawaiians weren’t the only ones trying to figure out what was going on during those frightful moments, as Hawaii is constantly one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world. Roughly 52% of global survey respondents expect to vacation at the beach at some point over the next 12 months, and many plan to visit O’ahu, the third largest and most populated of the Hawaiian Islands. Yet, some of those vacationers might think twice about visiting Hawaii after all that confusion.
The emergency alert message read:
“BALLISTIC MISSLE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”
One family from New York was enjoying the Hawaiian weather during their vacation as the message went out to all smart phone users on the island.
“We kind of stood there in shock, for 45 minutes,” said Phyllis Ballinger, who was vacationing with her family. “But the first thing we did, we all texted our kids to tell them we love them because we really felt like it was real.”
According to KPTC, another woman from Oregon was vacationing on the island with her family, but she was away from her kids during the panic.
“It sounded like a tsunami alarm, and simultaneously our phones went off at the same time,” added Katie Slayden. “The beaches were empty. The alarms were just this hellacious noise that just wouldn’t stop.”
Slayden and her husband hurried back to their hotel room to see their kids and attempt to keep them calm.
“I know firsthand that what happened today was totally unacceptable,” said Hawaii governor David Ige. “And many in our community was deeply affected by this. And I’m sorry for that pain and confusion that anyone might have experienced.”