A second alert confirmed the Hawaii missile alert on Saturday was a false alarm. Photo supplied

Central Albertans recall Hawaii’s false missile alert

Former Red Deer councillor Paul Harris was hanging out at the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel in Maui when the false emergency alert sounded in Hawaii Saturday.

His cellphone was off so he didn’t receive the first missile alert warning people to seek shelter immediately.

“I missed it. I would’ve loved to have receive it,” said Harris. “Because I would’ve had time to think about the last 11 minutes of my life.”

Harris received the second alert letting people know it was a false alarm.

Reports confirmed around 8 a.m., a mistaken alert of an inbound missile threat was sent to mobile phones. People were left in a frenzy for about 40 minutes until a second alert confirmed it was a false alarm.

Harris said he heard the hotel gardener talking to one of the other guests about the alert while it was still on but Harris wasn’t sure what was going on at the time.

“I heard about people panicking,” he said.

He also heard people were disappointed in the way governments are handling issues.

“A lot of people were saying this shouldn’t be happening at all if countries would sit down and talk to each other,” he said, referring to tensions between U.S. and North Korea.

Pat Garritty, co-owner at Trilliant Real Estate Group in Sylvan Lake, was in Hawaii with his family when the false alert sounded.

He said the alarm, with a distinct sound, on his wife’s phone woke the couple up.

For Garritty, the alert proved more confusing than panic because his wife, Deb, his brother and sister-in-law couldn’t figure out what was going on.

“It was confusing more than anything,” he said.

The couple turned on a national news channel on TV to see if they could get any type of confirmation, but they couldn’t until they tuned to a local news TV channel.

“It was unnerving for sure and local TV channel confirmed it that there was a missile in fact heading towards the island and it was going to hit within minutes,” he said.

The family then logged onto Twitter and realized the alert was indeed a false alarm.

That half hour was confusing, unnerving and surreal, he said.

The false alarm did not ruin the family’s holiday. Garritty said after the experience was behind them so the family headed to the beach.


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This smartphone screen capture shows a false incoming ballistic missile emergency alert sent from the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency system on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Jennifer Kelleher)

Pat and Deb Garritty were in Hawaii during a false missile alert over the weekend. Photo supplied

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