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

Baby, it’s nasty outside: wind and rain will continue across Vancouver Island

Police warn drivers and pedestrians to use precaution during expected rain and winds

Collective agreement met between UFCW 1518 and IGA

Membership voted strongly in favour of the collective agreement, which came days after negotiations.

Safety board issues letters over rail crash that killed three workers in Woss

The safety board conducted the investigation at the request of the Transportation Ministry

SD85’s spring break schedule may change to two-weeks but would overlap Easter

“This makes absolutely no sense to me,” Barrett stated in a letter to school trustees.

UPDATE: Police say false bomb threat came from computer and printer in the school

“The threat was a hoax by a student,” said Port McNeill RCMP.

Cannabis gift ideas for this holiday season

Put the green in happy holidays, now that cannabis is legal in Canada

B.C. man linked to human remains probe gets absolute discharge on unrelated mischief count

Curtis Sagmoen was in Vernon Law Courts Dec. 13 for a mischief trial

Kervin’s Corner: 75 years ago this week – Jokerville, RCAF station gets new wing commander

Jokerville was the RCAF airmen’s living quarters, but the station had more history than expected.

Tilray names several former politicians to international advisory board

Many former politicians and political operatives have made a foray into the legal pot industry

Supreme Court upholds Canada’s right to reargue facts in assisted-dying case

Julia Lamb and the B.C. Civil Liberties Association are spearheading a challenge of the law

B.C. company facing several charges in 2017 chicken abuse case

CFIA investigation leads to 38 charges against Elite Farm Services and Ontario-based Sofina Foods

Woman forcibly confined, sexually assaulted between Creston and Cranbrook

The suspect forced the woman into her vehicle before driving along Highway 3

‘I thought I was dead as soon as I saw the gun’

Keremeos gas station attendant tells story about man with gun coming to store

John murder trial at Duncan courthouse on pause until spring

John is charged with the May 2016 murder of 20-year-old Derek Descoteau

Most Read