Fam­ily’s Hawai­ian hor­ror

Bay fam­ily’s ter­ri­fy­ing ex­pe­ri­ence

Fraser Coast Chronicle - - NEWS - Matthew McIn­er­ney Matthew.McIn­er­ney@news­re­gional­me­dia.com.au

THE hol­i­day of a life­time turned into a ter­ri­fy­ing 38 minute or­deal for Craig­nish’s Es­pos­ito fam­ily.

Adam and Michelle Es­pos­ito, daugh­ters Cal­ista and Lola, Michelle’s mum Lesley Lovett and Adam’s dad Frank Es­pos­ito’s Hawai­ian par­adise turned into a real-life night­mare af­ter re­ceiv­ing an alert warn­ing of an im­pend­ing bal­lis­tic mis­sile strike.

The emer­gency text mes­sage and broad­cast was sent out to ev­ery­one in Hawaii.

“A lot of thoughts went through my mind, but safety was para­mount,” Michelle said.

“I just felt we had to get out of the build­ing.”

The fam­ily were at the Ilikai Ho­tel in Honolulu when sirens be­gan to sound on tele­vi­sions as chaos struck.

“We weren’t too sure what to make of it, but thought we’d bet­ter take it se­ri­ously,” Michelle said.

“We went down to the foyer of the ho­tel and you could tell no­body re­ally knew what to make of it. Some (peo­ple) were head­ing down to the base­ment and some of us just wanted to get out the ho­tel.”

“Peo­ple were in chaos, run­ning to bomb shel­ters, pulling their cars over in tun­nels, hid­ing out in shops and ho­tels,” she said.

The Es­pos­i­tos stayed calm, or at least ap­peared to do so, as Cal­ista and Lola were clearly upset by the un­fold­ing drama.

“We tried to re­main calm, but on the in­side it was a lit­tle dif­fer­ent,” she said.

“In this day and age you’re not re­ally sure what any­one is ca­pa­ble of so we knew that we had to take it se­ri­ously.”

The mes­sage was re­scinded 38 min­utes later, as the Gover­nor of Hawaii, David Ige, said a worker “pushed the wrong but­ton”.

The trip had al­ready been made un­for­get­table as the Es­pos­ito fam­ily nar­rowly avoided Cal­i­for­nia’s wild­fires in De­cem­ber and then ex­pe­ri­enced a white Christ­mas cour­tesy of an Arc­tic blast, which froze Ni­a­gara Falls for their visit.

Hours af­ter the in­ci­dent, Mrs Es­pos­ito said she and her fam­ily were thank­ful it was a hoax.

“We are all good now, it’s all a bit sur­real, just grate­ful it was set off in er­ror and we’re not liv­ing a real night­mare,” she said.

“On re­flec­tion I guess (an at­tack by) North Korea did cross my mind but was put at ease when the sec­ond alert came through. It was one of those blood pound­ing through your ears mo­ments.”

Apart from yes­ter­day’s ter­ri­fy­ing 38-minute ideal, the Es­pos­i­tos agreed it had been an un­for­get­table trip.

They will re­main in Hawaii un­til Fri­day, be­fore a short stay in Fiji on their way back to Craig­nish.

“(It’s) one we won’t for­get in a hurry,” Michelle wrote.

PHO­TOS: CON­TRIB­UTED

FRIGHT­EN­ING EX­PE­RI­ENCE: The Es­pos­ito fam­ily, from Craig­nish, was on hol­i­day in Hawaii when they re­ceived an emer­gency alert about an im­pend­ing bal­lis­tic mis­sile strike. The alert was mis­tak­enly sent by au­thor­i­ties.

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