What’s it like to have your vacation interrupted by a missile alert?
Just ask some Cambria residents who were on the islands when text messages went out Saturday warning of an imminent attack.
Author and conservationist Bill Seavey was vacationing on Oahu when the alert went out.
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“For three days we were in a condo that had a bed bug problem, so we frantically moved, and 24 hours later while having breakfast we got the missile alert on our phones,” Seavey wrote in an email to The Cambrian.
“I couldn’t imagine North Korea, which just agreed to talks with South Korea ally the U.S., launching a missile — but knowing the islands being in range, well, it seemed remotely plausible.”
Tensions between the United States and North Korea have been high following a series of missile and nuclear tests in the past year by the Asian nation. President Trump has responded by warning North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (among other things) that threats against the United States would be “met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
Less than a month before the Winter Olympics are scheduled to begin in PyeongChang, South Korea, North and South Korea have been engaged in tentative talks. On Monday, North Korea announced it has agreed to send a 140-member orchestra to South Korea as part of its Olympic delegation.
Seavey, who is vacationing in Waikiki, said the hotel’s “front desk was inundated with inquiries” and worried that “maybe it was time to kiss our arses goodbye.”
The error reportedly took place when an employee clicked the wrong option on a drop-down menu, indicating a live missile alert instead of a test.
“Whoever sent this should be relieved of his or her duties ASAP,” Seavey wrote.
BBC News reported Monday that the unnamed employee responsible for the mistake had been temporarily assigned to other duties.
Dianne Brooke of Cambria just missed the alert. She had booked a predawn flight for Tuesday to Honolulu, where she planned to visit her son, who she said described the incident as “beyond surreal.”
Mary Anne Anderson, who was on Maui when the alert was sent, didn’t let it spoil her day.
“I was walking on a lonely beach in Maui two miles away from any shelter,” wrote Anderson, who will be resuming her regular poetry nights Feb. 1 at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Cambria. “My thoughts: ‘Ah well, if the missile strikes here, I’ll just be going from one paradise to another.’ Then I dove in for perhaps a final swim.”
The islands’ beauty was helpful to Seavey, too: “The day got better,” he wrote. “It was beautiful at Kailua Beach Park.”