Debbie Hatt and her daughter Rachel arrived on the Big Island of Hawaii Thursday. They have been taking in the beautiful surroundings and exquisite sunsets while celebrating Rachel’s recent college graduation from Clemson University. The two were sitting on the balcony Saturday morning enjoying a cup coffee when in an instant, the serenity was broken and crippling fear set in.

“My first thought was ‘Okay, we’re never going to survive this. This is it, this is how I’m going to die,'” said the Wake County resident.

A terrifying alert flashed on her phone. It warned there was a ballistic missile threat inbound, to seek immediate shelter, and the last line read “this is not a drill.”

Hatt says from the balcony she could hear other hotel guests yelling from their rooms.

Mom and daughter grabbed some personal items and evacuated.

“We were like ‘Okay this is serious, we got to go,'” she said. “We got to get in the basement. Everyone was standing there scared.”

Hatt tried to call 911, but couldn’t get through.

“We sat there in disbelief like this just can’t be happening,” she said.

Turns out, the alert was false.

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