HONOLULU (CBSNewYork) — The fired Hawaii state worker who sent a false missile alert, inciting panic and chaos across the island chain until a correction was sent almost 40 minutes later, says he thought the threat was real at the time.

“By the way it came across it seemed very real because it was a plan, unannounced, and it was a weekend morning,” he said. “So it was unusual.”

In his first interview since the January 13th incident, he told Hawaii News Now there were a variety of problems and system-wide failures.

A Federal Communications Commission report released earlier this week states the ex-worker heard “this is not a drill” but did not hear the word “exercise.”

The former employee says he’s still receiving death threats, and it’s been “utter hell” for him and his family.