The Long Beach State women’s basketball team was waking up and beginning to get ready for their game last Saturday against Hawaii when their phones started buzzing a little after 8 a.m. It was a priority alert that read:
“BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”
More than 30 minutes later the warning was declared an error and the 49ers — along with millions of other people in Hawaii — knew they were safe. That evening they went on to drop a 74-66 decision to the Rainbow Warriors, but they could hardly be blamed for not worrying too much about the game.
“It was crazy,” 49ers coach Jeff Cammon said.
They weren’t the only 49ers to get a scare. That also happened to be the wedding day for former 49er volleyball player Lauren Minkel, a native of the islands.
“It’s pretty scary to get a notification on your phone the morning of your wedding that a ballistic missile is on its way,” she said. “The first thing I thought was, ‘Great, we just brought 100 of our closest friends and family to Hawaii to die.’”
Among those there to celebrate with her were her teammates at Long Beach State, Libby Fontanilla and Jocelyn Baughman (along with her husband, Jim, who played for the 49ers men’s team). Minkel said the wedding party was in a panic, with nobody sure what to do until after the false alarm notification came through.
After that, things returned to normal, at least normal for such a momentous day.
“The wedding went on without a hitch and it was a blast — no pun intended,” Minkel said. “And now when people talk about how stressful their wedding was I can ask them, ‘Well, was there a ballistic missile threat on your wedding day?’”