HAWAIIAN HORROR: Coast family caught up in missile scare
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The message was rescinded 38 minutes later, as the Governor of Hawaii, David Ige, said a worker "pushed the wrong button".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 false alarm.
"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.