January 13, 2018 11:34 PM
Minnesotans visiting Hawaii found themselves in panic Saturday, after a false missile warning was sent to those on the islands.
Natalie Webster lives in Tonka Bay, Minnesota now, but was born and raised in Hawaii. She had gathered with five generations of relatives for a reunion, but ended up huddling in their rental home after the alert went out.
"The worst part was watching my children for 38 minutes thinking they were going to die while we were together in a laundry room," she said.
Minnesota Musician Kat Perkins, who was on vacation as well, said she was on her way to snorkel when she received the alert. She found cover with others in stairwell.
"I remember looking around at people and thought if we die, this is who I am dying with," she said. "I had these awful, weird, cryptic, morbid thoughts."
The emergency alert, which was sent to cellphones statewide just before 8:10 a.m., said: "BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL." A second message was sent later, which read: "There is no missile threat or danger to the State of Hawaii. Repeat. False alarm."
Webster said while it was a mistake, it seemed real.
"It was a mistake, but I can say for everyone in my household, it may have well been real," Perkins said. "It was no different, because we believed it was happening. We were told over and over gain that it was happening."
Perkins said she hopes the state's government learns from Saturday's mistake.
"They should make sure note only emergency systems are maybe more protected from human error, A," Perkins said. "B, the reality is the state wasn't very prepared. There aren't bomb shelter and really not place to go."
Updated: January 13, 2018 11:34 PM
Created: January 13, 2018 10:20 PM
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