Hawaiian Missile Threat Failed to Stop Kirk Hammett’s Yoga Routine
Imagine living on an island and an alert goes off on your phone warning you of an incoming missile attack — what do you do? If you're Kirk Hammett, you look out your window to assess the situation for yourself then finish your yoga routine.
The incident happened on Jan. 13 earlier this year. "My phone went off, you know, [like] one of those Amber [Alerts]," Hammett said in a round-table interview for Metallica's "So What!" fan club. "I was doing yoga. I was on my back, upside down or something, and my son said, 'Hey, Dad, your phone just made one of those funny sounds, like there's a tsunami coming or something,'" the guitarist continued.
Upon seeing the message, which read, "Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill," Hammet looked out his living room window which has a view of the airport and Pearl Harbor. "There's no action there — no action whatsoever. In fact, it was so quiet everywhere," he recalled, noting the early detection system at Pearl Harbor. "It's this huge thing that looks like a golf ball, it's like four stories high and it's the early detection system for all the Americans in the entire Pacific," he described.
"Nothing was happening. There was no jet scrambling, no boats leaving Pearl Harbor. There were no sirens or anything, you know, no air raid sirens. So I thought, 'This has got to be a mistake.' And I just continued doing my yoga," Hammett said. "Fifteen minutes later, I went online and it said, 'Yeah, mistake,' and I was, like, 'It's okay, boys.'"
An employee at Hawaii's Emergency Management Agency had selected the wrong message template when pushing out an alert, which was then sent to the public rather than as an internal message. "A friend of a friend had a heart attack," adds Hammett, who also mentioned that a friend who was hiking received the message and contemplated jumping off a cliff.
It was 38 minutes before the confusing and alarming error was retracted and the employee responsible has since been fired.
10 Unforgettable Kirk Hammett Moments
See Metallica in the Top 50 Thrash Albums of All Time