In the simulated exercise, the fire service, police, ambulance staff, the red cross, and other key agencies, as well as actors, were on the scene of a crashed aircraft at the airport seawall.
The exercise presented the scenario of a major international aircraft, packed full of passengers that had failed to take-off, following a drone being sucked into its engine, crashing the plane into the seawall and leaving many on board with minor to critical injuries.
A police Zodiac arrived on the scene around 9am to “rescue” some objects, meant to be passengers who had fallen into the lagoon, while the fire authority put out a makeshift fire, and ambulances from Rarotonga Hospital were dispatched to the scene.
Airport Authority Fire Chief Willie Haggai says the bi-annual full-scale emergency exercise is a requirement under the International Civil Aviation Organisation ICAAO regulations.
He says, “Yesterday was a very good turnout and result, from all the agencies involved.”
It was also a chance for local students to assist in the exercise. One hundred and twenty, form one and two children from Apii Nikao and students from Tereora college, played the part of injured passengers.
Haggai says it gives the agencies involved a chance to work on areas needing improvement, if such a disaster took place. This sentiment was echoed by the chief pharmacist at Rarotonga Hospital, Andrew Orange, who was on the scene to critique the scenario.
He says it was such a valuable exercise to have, and to look at future response improvements.
Traffic was diverted from the main-road around the seawall for the morning as the exercise took place.
- Chris Taylor