A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor is launched during the system's first operational test at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii on Oct. 5, 2011. The test was conducted by the Ballistic Missile Defense System Operational Test Agency with the support of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency. During the test the THAAD system engaged and simultaneously intercepted two ballistic missile targets.

While Hawaiians were misled to believe they faced certain death following an erroneous missile alert over the weekend, one family from the Pacific archipelago were reportedly on Long Island at the time.

Justin and his mother, Jacky, were in Plainview visiting family for a wedding when Justin got a call back home from his wife, who said that she received an alert on her cell phone that there was a ballistic missile inbound to Hawaii, WNYW-TV reported.

“Total panic and helplessness,” is what Jacky told Fox 5 NY she felt when she thought she’d never see her grandchildren again before learning that the missile alert was an error.

The alert triggered panic in the streets of paradise as Hawaiian residents sought shelter and sent desperate messages to loved ones for about a half hour Saturday before another alert went out indicating that the threat warning was a mistake.

“Seek immediate shelter,” the erroneous message warned. “This is not a drill.”

But, as it turned out, it was a drill. And the unnamed government official who mistakenly sent the emergency alert was temporarily reassigned pending the results of an investigation.

The mishap comes amid heightened tensions between the US and North Korea, whose dictator has been ratcheting up rhetoric threatening America with nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile strikes.

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Timothy Bolger is the Editor in Chief of the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.