3 days after a disaster that your department is responsible for?
Abhorrent? I don't think I'd use that strong of a word. Stupid? Seems to me. I gather--at the time of his departure--that he was not sure of the level of seriousness. He took the risk, and it backfired.
Not sure why you think the trip was "supposed?" The article clearly explains the intent of his trip. Why do you doubt this?
Look, what I really think is this guy is a hammer. Who should be fired. His lack of interest in his job seems proven here, and if it turns out, he's the one responsible for making sure the booms were available. he needs to be fired.