Airport Community Tests Contingency Readiness for
Air, Sea and Land Rescue
(HONG KONG, 24 November 2011) – Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) conducted a multi-scenario aircraft crash exercise this morning, involving not only large-scale air, sea and land rescue operations but also partial blockage of the landside rail and road system.
For the first time, the airport's cross-boundary ferry terminal SkyPier was used as the major exercise site and a road detour plan was put into test to ensure the airport remains connected to downtown at all times. A total of over 1,100 participants from 25 government departments and organisations took part in the drill and the airport community's preparedness for contingency response and coordination was fully tested.
The exercise started at 0430hrs when a notional B737 aircraft carrying 128 passengers and 7 crew members encountered technical problems upon take off on the South Runway. One of its engines became detached and hit a cabin cleaning vehicle travelling on the apron, causing six casualties. The aircraft then dashed the electric cables of the Airport Express Line (AEL) and its parts scattered across Airport Road before crashing into offshore near the SkyPier.
The Air Traffic Control Tower triggered the crash alarm and the Airport Emergency Centre was immediately activated to coordinate the emergency responses. 1 helicopter, 5 fire and rescue vessels, 21 ambulances, 17 fire engines and other emergency services rushed to the accident sites, with the Fire Services arriving on site within 5 minutes.
A total of 15 simulated fatalities and 84 injuries were reported. The injured were conveyed to seven hospitals, while the uninjured were escorted to the Passenger Reception Centre at SkyPier for police debriefing, immigration and customs clearance before reuniting with their relatives in the landside Family Reception Centre.
Outside the crash sites, as the AEL and Airport Road were partially blocked, special arrangements were simulated to transport passengers to and from the passenger terminal building via designated airside routes. Crowd management contingency plans were also activated to provide assistance to passengers and maintain order.
Airport Authority Hong Kong (AA) together with the Civil Aviation Department, Hong Kong Police, Fire Services Department and Hong Kong Express held a joint simulated press conference after the completion of the rescue operation. Over 30 university journalism students from the Hong Kong Baptist University, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Shue Yan University acted as journalists reporting on the accident. The exercise stood down at 1035hrs.
C K Ng, Deputy Director, Airport Operations of AA, said, "We hold a large-scale aircraft crash exercise every year to test and refine our contingency procedures. Each year, we come up with new elements and assess our readiness under different emergency situations. For example, instead of carrying out the rescue on the apron, this year, we simulated that the aircraft fell into the sea and major search and rescue actions took place around the SkyPier.
"Another first is the testing of our ability to maintain access to the airport even in the event that both AEL and Airport Road were closed. This is to better prepare the airport community for all sorts of potential scenarios, and to maintain the highest standards of safety and security at HKIA," added Mr Ng.
HKIA conducts over 100 drills, exercises and trainings of varying sizes every year, including the annual exercise required by aerodrome licensing procedures. Active participants in this morning's drill included:
Airport Fire Contingent
Airport Port Health Office / Department of Health
Auxiliary Medical Service
Civil Aviation Department
Customs & Excise Department
Fire Services Department; Ambulance Command
Government Flying Service
Home Affairs Department
Hong Kong Police Force (Airport District)
Information Services Department
Aviation Security Co. Ltd. (AVSECO)
Chu Kong Shipping Enterprises (Holdings) Co., Ltd
Hong Kong Express
Raffles Medical Group
Regal Airport Hotel
SATS HK Ltd
Caritas Medical Centre
Chinese University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong Baptist University
Hong Kong Red Cross
Hong Kong Shue Yan University
Hong Kong St. John Amublance
Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital
Prince of Wales Hospital
Princess Margaret Hospital
Queen Elizabeth Hospital
Tuen Mun Hospital
University of Hong Kong
Yan Chai Hospital
Over 1,100 participants from 25 government departments and organisations take part in the exercise this year. In the multi-scenario aircraft crash exercise involving air, sea and land operations, ambulances, fire engines and a helicopter are mobilised to carry out rescue actions.
C K Ng, Deputy Director, Airport Operations of AA, says that HKIA holds a large-scale aircraft crash exercise every year to test and refine the contingency procedures. Such exercise is to better prepare the airport community for all sorts of potential scenarios, and to maintain the highest standards of safety and security at HKIA.
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