False mis­sile threat in­spires new per­spec­tive

Dad en­cour­ages peo­ple to em­brace life

Sunshine Coast Daily - - NEWS - SCOTT SAWYER scott.sawyer@sc­news.com.au

A HIN­TER­LAND health re­treat and re­hab fa­cil­ity op­er­a­tor is urg­ing peo­ple to em­brace life af­ter be­ing caught up in the har­row­ing Hawai­ian fake mis­sile threat.

Fran­cis McLach­lan, his wife Carol and their 18-year-old son were in Waikiki Beach on the morn­ing the mes­sage ar­rived telling them their fates were sealed.

Mr McLach­lan said it was just af­ter 8am on Jan­uary 13 at the pic­turesque des­ti­na­tion when his wife’s phone beeped with an am­ber alert giv­ing emer­gency ad­vice a bal­lis­tic mis­sile strike was im­mi­nent.

A few mo­ments later the ho­tel screens read that a mis­sile im­pact was just min­utes away and that it was “not a drill”.

“We go to a ground level part of a beach­front ho­tel and find a stair­well below ground, wait­ing for a bal­lis­tic mis­sile to strike,” Mr McLach­lan re­called.

He re­counted the emo­tional good­byes they said be­tween them as he awaited the mis­sile’s im­pact and the “hor­rific death for my beau­ti­ful wife and 18-year-old son”.

Within 10 min­utes they re­ceived the all clear, the alert had been an er­ror and there was no mis­sile threat, but Mr McLach­lan said the dam­age had been done.

He said he tried to com­fort every­one he came

Weasa fam­ily live in a scary world, what time we have let’s make it spe­cial for our­selves and our fam­ily. — Fran­cis McLach­lan

in con­tact with, in­clud­ing the el­derly, and the re­lief when the all clear came had been enor­mous.

But when they went to go out to eat the area was de­serted, as guests walked around in shock.

“We go to eat and there are no peo­ple, no guests, no staff. The staff have gone home to be with their fam­i­lies, to be with them as a fam­ily as an im­mi­nent mis­sile alert was cur­rent, not a drill,” he said.

“To every­one in Honolulu, that warn­ing, bal­lis­tic mis­sile, they be­lieved they would die,” Mr McLach­lan said.

The owner of The Health Re­treat at Maleny urged every­one to “en­joy life” to sort out de­pres­sion, anx­i­ety and self-med­i­ca­tion is­sues and em­brace life ev­ery day.

“We as a fam­ily live in a scary world, what time we have let’s make it spe­cial for our­selves and our fam­ily,” he said.

Mr McLach­lan had been in Hawaii on a break in be­tween meet­ing with a group of Cana­di­ans ex­plor­ing op­tions to open an­other Health Re­treat in Canada to com­bat the rise of Fen­tanyl, which he said was cheaper and more pow­er­ful than heroin and killing “thou­sands per year” in Canada and the US.

PHOTO: JHUNE LIWANAG

WIDE­SPREAD PANIC: A high­way me­dian sign broad­casts a mes­sage of “There is no threat” in Ka­neohe, Hawaii, af­ter state emer­gency of­fi­cials mis­tak­enly sent out an emer­gency alert warn­ing of an im­mi­nent mis­sile strike.

The Health Re­treat Maleny owner Fran­cis McLach­lan.

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