Yesterday an emergency broadcast warned that a ballistic missile was heading towards Hawaii, terrifying tourists and residents alike.
For over thirty minutes those on the island believed a missile was rocketing towards them until officials confirmed that the broadcast was a false alarm.
Across Hawaii, hundreds received an alert on their mobile phone which read: ‘BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL’.
Holy hell this is terrifying.
This is the exact moment the Hawaii Emergency Alert System for the Ballistic Missile alert interrupted Hawaiian TV. #Hawaii #BallisticMissle #EAS pic.twitter.com/gzLCBgqHVG
— Chris Strider (@stridinstrider) January 13, 2018
At the same time, radio and television programmes were interrupted by a warning telling those outdoors to seek immediate shelter, adding that people should remain indoors away from the windows.
During those panicked minutes, hundreds flocked to hotels and businesses desperately seeking shelter wherever they could.
David Ige the governor of Hawaii told CNN that the false alarm was human error, during a routine test which accidentally triggered the warning at 8:07 am.
It was a mistake made during a standard procedure at the change over of a shift, and an employee pushed the wrong button.
For 38 minutes, however, those on the island believed it was possible they were about to die and many spent, what they believed were their last minutes, huddled in baths or hiding in shelters, texting loved ones what they believed could be their last words.
— + sheep (@ForgetableLoser) January 14, 2018
This morning my daughter was 20 miles away at my moms &all I could tell her as she was crying was I love her & I’m so sorry… I would never wish this feeling on anyone. Traumatized. #Hawaii #HawaiiMissle #misslethreat #realStress pic.twitter.com/GMtpJCHGX4
— Aisha Lindsey (@aikudeesh) January 14, 2018
Despite the warning being a false alarm the threat of nuclear war is very real on Hawaii especially since North Korea developed weapons with the capability to hit the islands.
The recent tensions between the Trump administration and North Korea has lead authorities on the islands to start preparing and testing early warning systems.
They’ve also recommended that residents make emergency plans for the event of a nuclear launch.
39-year-old Ashly Trask confirmed to The Guardian that everyone on the island has a plan these days.
Everyone’s got a plan, it’s very real. It was definitely kind of a panic zone. Everyone knows you have about 15 minutes until detonation, and no one knows where it will land.
Not everyone was worried by the looming nuclear threat though, Joshua Keoki Versola was home alone waiting for his fiancee when the alarm went off.
Instead of panicking he instead took out a bottle of expensive Japanese whisky.
I was about to start pouring drinks and go out in style. What are we going to do in this situation? We really can’t do anything but just try and make the best of it.
For advice on what to do in the event of a Nuclear missile launch check out ready.gov.
More of a concept than a journalist, Tom Percival was forged in the bowels of Salford University from which he emerged grasping a Masters in journalism.
Since then his rise has been described by himself as ‘meteoric’ rising to the esteemed rank of Social Editor at UNILAD as well as working at the BBC, Manchester Evening News, and ITV.
He credits his success to three core techniques, name repetition, personality mirroring, and never breaking off a handshake.