by David Corrigan
HILO, Hawaii – An April Fool’s Day prank that played out over Hawaii Island airwaves prompted 911 calls and an official message from the county’s civil defense agency on Monday.
“A local radio station falsely reported on its website that Saddle Road was closed at the 28-mile marker due to a lava flow,” reported Hawaii County Police. “The false report was an April Fool’s Day prank. Saddle Road is open and there is no lava flow anywhere near that area.”
“There is no eruption threat and all roads are open,” said Hawaii County Civil Defense in a special alert message.
The culprit was Native FM morning DJ “Gumby”, who was voted East Hawaii’s “Best Radio Personality” by the readers of the Hawaii Tribune-Herald. Native FM removed the joke from the internet.
Gumby later issued an apology on the station’s Facebook page. “Sorry guys, was me,” he wrote. “There is no lava flow on Saddle Road. It was irresponsible and inappropriate to put that. I thought a while before posting it, thinking wasn’t a good idea, but my Jiminy Cricket wasn’t influential enough. From this day forward, no more April Fools Jokes from me. Again, sorry. Shame 🙁 ”
“Saddle Road is open,” Gumby added.
Hawaii’s warning siren sounded at noon, but it had nothing to do with any April Fool’s joke. It was part of the monthly test of the statewide outdoor siren warning system, normally conducted on the first working day of the month, in cooperation with Hawaii’s broadcasting industry.