Air­port se­cu­rity ex­er­cise hits the mark

Zululand Observer - Weekender - - ZO NEWS - Conelia Harry

FEARS were quickly al­layed after po­lice and air­port of­fi­cials con­firmed that a strong emer­gency ser­vices pres­ence at the Richards Bay Air­port on Wed­nes­day was part of a se­cu­rity ex­er­cise.

As the road to the air­port was closed to the pub­lic, con­cerned res­i­dents be­lieved a se­ri­ous emer­gency sit­u­a­tion or pos­si­ble protest ac­tion was un­der way at the fa­cil­ity.

Richards Bay Air­port Man­ager Os­car Nz­ima said it was nor­mal pro­ce­dure for ac­cess points to the air­port to be closed while safety and se­cu­rity sim­u­la­tions took place.

This was done to avoid out­side in­ter­fer­ence while emer­gency ser­vices did their work.

‘The pur­pose of this ex­er­cise was to test the air­port’s readi­ness in the event of an emer­gency and the ex­ter­nal sup­port ser­vices’ re­sponse.

‘We have had other sim­u­la­tion ex­er­cises be­fore, such as a sim­u­lated plane crash, but in this ex­er­cise we con­cealed an ex­plo­sive de­vice,’ said Nz­ima.

The de­vice was de­tected at the X-ray ma­chine and none of the in­ter­nal or ex­ter­nal ser­vices were aware that it was an ex­er­cise. They re­sponded in the be­lief the bomb threat was real.

Nz­ima said the ex­er­cise proved to be a suc­cess and the op­er­a­tion was com­pleted un­der an hour-anda-half from the time the alarm was ac­ti­vated.

This in­cluded evac­u­a­tion of all staff, po­lice units ‘dis­arm­ing’ the ex­plo­sive de­vice, law en­force­ment and emer­gency ser­vices comb­ing the area for other pos­si­ble threats be­fore declar­ing the area safe to re­sume op­er­a­tions.

The Richards Bay Fire Depart­ment, City of uMh­lathuze traf­fic depart­ment, var­i­ous SAPS units, in­clud­ing the K-9 unit, ex­plo­sives, search and res­cue teams and crime scene in­ves­ti­ga­tors were in­volved in the op­er­a­tion.

Emer­gency ser­vices and law en­force­ment re­sponded promptly to the sim­u­lated threat at Richards Bay Air­port

Emer­gency ser­vices and law en­force­ment re­sponded promptly to the sim­u­lated threat at Richards Bay Air­port

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