An air­port emer­gency

Sim­u­lated ex­er­cise tests skills

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

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.

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