Hawaii man who suffered a heart attack during missile false alarm is suing the state

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By Kalhan Rosenblatt

A man from Hawaii said that an alert to the false ballistic missile had been inflicted at the beginning of the year on a heart attack, according to a complaint filed Tuesday.

The sloppy alert was sent on cell phones on Jan. 13, claiming that a missile was heading for Hawaii, causing massive panic. It took the state 38 minutes to correct its mistake.

James Sean Shields and Brenda Reichel, both of whom are registered as complainants in the complaint, were living in the Hawaii Kai area of ​​Honolulu, Hawaii in January, when they received the following alert: "Ballistic Missile Threat to Hawaii Shelter .This is not an exercise."

Image: An electronic sign reads
An electronic sign says "There is no threat" in Oahu, Hawaii, after sending a false emergency alert on January 13, 2018.@sighpoutshrug / Instagram via Reuters

The couple were going to Oahu's Sandy Beach Beach and decided that if they died, they should be together on the beach, according to the complaint.


"The two complainants believed that this message was true and were extremely scared and thought that they were going to die," reads the complaint.

Reichel's son, a member of the Hawaii Army National Guard, also called the couple to tell them that he believed the alert was real.

Around 8:15 am local time (1:15 pm ET), the couple reached the beach and started calling loved ones. It's about this time that Shields began to experience a "severe and painful burn in the chest," according to the complaint.

Then, at around 9:30 am, the couple arrived at Straub Medical Center where Shields suffered a cardiac arrest and had to undergo cardiopulmonary resuscitation, defibrillation and subsequent surgery, according to the complaint.

As the couple was going through the medical ordeal, they were unaware that a second alert had been sent by the State Emergency Management Agency, stating that the first alert had been a false alarm.

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