Facing nuclear annihilation, divers decide to keep diving | KNKX

Facing nuclear annihilation, divers decide to keep diving

May 18, 2019

This story originally aired on April 28, 2018.   

Former Seattleite Carl Badgley has some experience with emergencies, having been an army medic and a 9-1-1 operator. But, in search of a simpler, slightly less intense lifestyle, he had moved to be near the beautiful tropical waters off of Kona, Hawaii.

“The thing about being on the water is [it's] where my happy place is. I get to drive boats and am a scuba instructor and I get to do that and get paid for it. [It’s] where I go pretty much every day driving the boat. You get turtles, you have great visibility, the water is warm, there’s some sharks ... once in a while you’ll see a dolphin, an octopus. You’ll hear the whales when the whales are in season. Beautiful, beautiful structures too,” Badgley said. 

But on January 13, 2018, peace was disrupted in Hawaii. For more than 30 minutes, panic set in across the state when residents and vacationers received an emergency alert: 

"Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter This is not a drill."

The alert turned out to be a false alarm, but there was no way to know that at the time.

While this was going on, Badgley was out on his boat with a handful of divers. He got the message on his phone, and shared the news with the divers.

The divers had a choice: head back to the mainland and look for shelter, or take the dive anyway, knowing that in either case, the end could be near.

In this interview, Badgley talks about the decision they made, and whether he would have stuck by that decision if the threat had been real.