‘This Could Be The End’

HONOLULU, Hawaii ― For a half-hour on Saturday morning, individuals in Hawaii believed the state was under attack.

The panic started shortly after 8 a.m. when residents, many who were just starting their days, received a striking alert on their cell phones. The same alerts were broadcast on TV and radio stations. 

“BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII,” the statewide emergency alert read. “SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”

More than 30 minutes later, the state issued a correction. Gov. David Ige claimed that a state employee had “pressed the wrong button” and sent the alert by accident.

But in those minutes, the fear and panic were real.

The alert forced people to act quickly and make difficult decisions. Is there enough time to gather family members? Should they hide in the closet? Should they take refuge in a tunnel under a mountain? None of these options guaranteed safety.

On a beach on Oahu’s north shore, residents on a morning walk bolted to take cover in their nearby homes. Drivers in cars pulled over to tell pedestrians of the incoming missile.

In Honolulu, people huddled together and waited for the state’s sirens to go off. The state implemented monthly nuclear warning siren tests in December in order to prepare residents of a potential attack on the state. The attack signals (which sound like a minutelong beep) are tested at the beginning of every month, along with the state’s ongoing tsunami warning tests.

Many sent messages of “Goodbye” and “I love you,” in fear they wouldn’t be able to say it again.

“It was surreal, actually,” Chea Paet, 35, told HuffPost. Paet, who lives in the Portlock…

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