Vancouver Islanders Nigel and Darlene Bailey traveled to Hawaii for the holidays.

Vancouver Island woman recounts terrifying ballistic missile false-alarm in Hawaii

“I immediately called both my children to say, ‘I’m proud of you and I love you.”

Darlene Bailey was wishing she was back on her Ucluelet condo’s deck Saturday morning rather than watching waves crash off the coast of Kauai while sipping a coffee and waiting for an impending missile strike.

The Vancouver Island resident, and this reporter’s mother, was in Hawaii with her husband Nigel when they woke to alerts that a ballistic missile strike was imminent.

“At around 8:07 a.m., my cell phone erupted with a shrill sound and a text saying there was an incoming missile heading for Hawaii. It instructed me to take cover and warned, ominously, that the text was not a drill,” she said. “We, apparently, had 15 minutes before the missile was scheduled to hit. I heard a man screaming outside to his wife to get his children into the car and yelling that a missile was about to hit…’Oh boy. This is the end,’ I thought, hoping it would be quick.”

The cell phone alert, which read, ‘BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL,’ was reportedly triggered by a Hawaii Emergency Management Agency employee by accident, though it took roughly 35 minutes for the agency to correct the mistake.

Bailey said she and her husband spent those minutes drinking coffee together while talking about their two children and five grandchildren—they’re expecting a sixth grandchild this May—and tried to keep calm, unsure of what else to do.

“We knew that there were no nuclear fallout shelters, or at least none that we were aware of, on the island of Kauai, so we prepared to hunker down and wait for the inevitable,” she said. “Our first thoughts of course went to our children and grandchildren and the one we are happily anticipating in May, which I regretted I wouldn’t see.”

At around 8:45 a.m., the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency sent out a new alert that assured there was no incoming strike.

“It was a bit spooky when nothing happened at the 15-minute mark. I think we both wondered what was delaying the inevitable,” Bailey said. “Then the condo landline rang with a robotic recorded message that there was no incoming missile.”

She added local news reports began explaining the alert had been a mistake caused by human error and that everything was fine.

“I immediately called both my children to say, ‘I’m proud of you and I love you,’” she said. “Then [Nigel] headed to golf and I went to the pool.”

Just Posted

Project provides barrier to suicides at hospital parkade

VIHA budgets $650,000 for work at Royal Jubilee Hospital parkade

Scam arrives on Saanich senior’s doorstep

Pair of fraudulent officers threaten to arrest 90-year-old woman

Pandora supervised consumption site has busy first month

Site whose aim is to save lives takes on a new client-driven name: The Harbour

Pedestrian struck on Quadra Street

A pedestrian was struck by a vehicle on Quadra Street at Hulford… Continue reading

VIDEO: How we make our newspapers

Ever wonder how Black Press Media gets over 100,000 papers out to your communities?

Wildfire evacuation order forces bride to search for new wedding venue

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards is under an order due to the Mount Eneas wildfire south of Peachland

Recent online kitten abuse video raises serious social media questions

UBC and UFV profs weigh in on the subject of online sharing, shaming, and our digital landscape

RV insurance costs $1,000 more in B.C. than in Alberta: taxpayers group

Canadian Taxpayers Federation is urging the provincial government to open up ICBC to competition

Summerland issues State of Local Emergency in response to wildfire

Two homes under evacuation order; evacuation alert remains in place as result of wildfire

A brother’s determination pushes B.C. cyclist to ride 2,500 km for heart care

#Cunnycan: Ryan Cunningham ‘pushing the envelope’ to support brother Craig’s foundation

B.C. hockey coach, nurse was killed in case of mistaken identity, police say

In Surrey, Paul Bennett’s wife makes a tearful plea for help in finding her husband’s killer

Most Read