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Air crash response tested in exercise

News | Published:

A SIMULATED crash between an Airbus and a Trislander was the test facing the emergency services during an exercise, codenamed Operation Raven, yesterday.

The exercise saw all of the emergency services come together to practice how they would cope in a real emergency.

Head of aviation services Ash Nicholas estimated they had about 100 people involved, including Guernsey Fire & Rescue, the Airport Fire service and the Civil Protection volunteers, as well as hospital staff, the police and St John Emergency Ambulance personnel.

He was pleased with how it went.

‘The feedback has been that it has gone really well,’ he said.

‘We will be taking that feedback and reviewing it and see what processes could be tweaked. It’s an ongoing process.’

The exercise started at about 9am. The scenario was that a chartered A319 was coming in to land. The pilot was unfamiliar with the runway, and as he landed the plane bounced and he lost control. He swerved into a Trislander on a neighbouring taxiway.

(Pictures by Tony Rive)

There were 16 people aboard the A319 and 11 aboard the Trislander and they began to self-evacuate, but some of the volunteers had to also pretend to be seriously hurt.

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Once the scene was set, air traffic control sounded its security alarm to call the emergency services into action. As well as the more obvious emergency services, Guernsey Water and the Red Cross were also called in to help, checking on pollution and helping with casualties.

The airport has to carry out a major incident exercise at least every four years, as well as more regular, smaller exercises. This can be a challenge, as the airport was operating throughout the incident

‘We’ve chosen a quiet day where there was a natural gap in operations,’ Mr Nicholas said.

‘We did have to suspend the exercise part way through as we had a genuine medical emergency which had to leave.’

The exercise finished at about 1pm.

Juliet Pouteaux

By Juliet Pouteaux
News reporter

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