UPDATE: 2:35 p.m. January 13, 2017 Governor of Hawaii addresses false missile threat
Kelowna resident, Brianne McKenzie was scheduled to fly home from Hawaii on Saturday morning when she received the alert about a 'ballistic missile threat,' which sent people on the island into a state of chaos.
Nearly an hour later, the U.S. Pacific Command tweeted that the threat had been a false alarm, but for an hour, tourists and residents were panicking as they were told to seek shelter.
U.S. Pacific Command has detected no ballistic missile threat to Hawaii. Earlier message was sent in error. State of Hawaii will send out a correction message as soon possible. pic.twitter.com/hqidbV0BWn— U.S. Pacific Command (@PacificCommand) January 13, 2018
McKenzie recalls receiving the alert after 8 a.m. on her iPhone:
"BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL."
Ballistic missile threat to Hawaii - not a drill. Tell me someone just pressed the wrong alert button. pic.twitter.com/6Dqkvi6FPi— Trish Quema La Chica (@trishquema) January 13, 2018
"An emergency alert went out on iPhones with a crazy loud and high-pitched tone," said McKenzie.
She also received an email saying that her flight had been cancelled and rescheduled for 10 p.m. on Sunday.
Shortly after the alert, the Marriott Ko Olina Beach Club in Oahu where they are staying was put on lockdown.
When her dad went downstairs to get some information, he was unable to locate any employees of the hotel.
According to McKenzie, the lobby was filled with "people crying and sobbing in a bit of a state of panic."
It took nearly an hour for the U.S. Pacific Command to correct the error, and citizens are still waiting for an official to speak on the matter.
The resort was taken off lockdown an hour later and people returned to the lobby, seeking information about the alert, as well as their travel cancellations.
"People seem to be resurfacing and continuing on but you can see a lot of people are shaken up and concerned."
McKenzie said the whole ordeal was "pretty scary - especially when they tell you to take cover and you're on the ninth floor of the resort. There's not a lot of places you can go."
She and her family had planned to visit the Ala Moana Center, a large upscale mall in Honolulu.
However, now they plan to lay low and avoid tourist-heavy areas.
She'll likely stay stick to the quiet side of the pool, she said.