An airport emergency
Simulated exercise tests skills
A SIMULATED oil leak, aircraft engine explosion, passenger safety and grounding of a Virgin Australia aircraft were the key components of the Big Spill emergency exercise at the Whitsunday Coast Airport on Saturday afternoon.
The Big Spill depicted a scenario in which a refuelling aircraft’s engine exploded while the fuel tanker was leaking fuel onto the airstrip.
Seven volunteers, acting as casualties, were positioned inside and around the aircraft.
Exercise director George Christianson said aerodrome reporting officer Bob Dwyer was the first response to incident, calling 000.
“The exercise is conducted in real time with a standard response time of 15 minutes for a regional airport.”
In the exercise, a Virgin Australia B737 had also landed and staff had to safely stop the aircraft and unload passengers safely.
The Airport Emergency Plan (AEP) must be tested in a full emergency exercise every two years.
Whitsunday Coast operations manager Tony Schulz said duty of care and safety were paramount concerns for airport management.
“Comprehensive and frequently practiced airport emergency and security plans are essential to ensure that, in the event of an aircraft accident loss of life and suffering is kept to a minimum.”
SAFETY FIRST: The Whitsunday Coast Airport Big Spill emergency exercise simulated a fuel tanker leaking fuel on the runway after the plane's engine exploded.