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UCSB Basketball Weathers Nuclear False Alarm

Andy Berg

The University of California-Santa Barbara men’s basketball team got a rude awakening Saturday morning.

UCSB was set to play a 7:00 p.m. road game against Hawaii in Waikiki. The team awoke Saturday morning to the now well-publicized alert warning of an incoming ballistic missile that was sent to phones all over Hawaii.

The team was particularly sensitive to the alert after having received similar notifications back home warning of encroaching wildfires and, most recently, mudslides.

According to a report from Yahoo Sports, UCSB players and coaches followed instructions included in the notifications. “We were either huddled in the bathroom, in the stairwells or out in the halls,” UCSB associate athletic director Bill Mahoney told Yahoo Sports. “The warning said to stay away from the windows. It was bizarre.”

The false alarm, which sent much of Hawaii into a temporary panic Saturday, comes as tensions between the United States and North Korea have hit a fevered pitch. It took almost 40 minutes for the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency to correct the mistaken alert, which the New York Times reported was a result of someone clicking “the wrong thing” on a computer during a shift change. 

“When we got to the lobby, we were figuring out where to go when it soon became apparent it was a mistake,” Mahoney said. “There were no sirens and the hotel staff was in contact with the authorities. Not long after that we received another alert that said the first one was false.”

Mahoney said his players empathized with hotel staff. “I think most of the guys felt worse for the natives working in the hotel. Some of them were really, really disturbed and very emotional.”

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