Wong woke up to false missile warning in Hawaii and family 'freaking out'

Wong woke up to false missile warning in Hawaii and family 'freaking out'

ST. LOUIS • One of the first calls Cardinals infielder Kolten Wong made from St. Louis when he saw word of an inbound missile alert back home in Hawaii was to his brother, Kean.

The younger Wong, an infielder for Tampa Bay, had gone to a cliff area on the big island to fish, and instead saw only panic as a result of what proved to be a false alert.

"Oh my god man, I was freaking out. Absolutely freaking out," Wong said Saturday at the Cardinals' Winter Warm-up. "This guy (Kean) was on the beach fishing right now. He was panicking, packing, throwing his stuff into the car. That’s just insane how that is an accident. ... It’s supposed to take only 15 minutes for a missile to hit Hawaii. To have that – guys are sitting there scared, freaking out, not sure what is going to happen."

At 8 a.m. Hawaii time, a push message was sent to cellphones around the island that stated: "Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill."

It was another 38 minutes before people were notified that the alert had been sent by mistake, according to reports.

Kolten Wong did not get the alert as he ate breakfast in St. Louis.

He saw news of the alert on social media and noticed many of his friends and people in Hawaii reacting to the alert. His father, Kaha Wong, woke up to the alert. His brother was unable to finish packing up his gear before he received the notice that it was a false alarm. What Kean described to Kolten was a beach scene that included other fisherman just tossing their poles into the water and skedaddling for shelter that wasn't readily available.

"They said the whole beach started panicking," Kolten Wong said. "Guys were freaking out. Throwing their poles. Throwing everything. Guys were storming off the beach. Just freaking out. What else are you going to do? A missile is supposed to come and take out the whole island. It was insane."

Officials in Hawaii put out a statement that the alert had been an error, according to media coverage on the island.

The alert comes at a time at heightened concern, less than two weeks after the government of North Korea bragged about a nuclear button on its president's desk and not many months after the country had ramped up its ballistic missile testing

Wong spent about two minutes talking to the media about the incident and in that span used the phrase "freaking out" seven times.

He said that was the general reaction he heard from friends and family.

Wong explained how he didn't really understand the suggestion to find shelter, given there aren't many basements and that he's heard a missile would just be "wipe out" the island. Asked what the protocol is for residents when they receive an alert like the false one, Wong said, calmly:

"Pray."

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Source : http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/birdland/wong-woke-up-to-false-missile-warning-in-hawaii-and/article_c1ad7406-7a7a-560d-910d-78acf8dea50b.html

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