Exercise Reviews HKIA's Readiness for Plane Collision at Passenger Concourse
(HONG KONG, 28 November 2012) – The preparedness of the airport community, government departments and relevant organisations to an aircraft accident was put to the test during the annual crash exercise conducted at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) this morning. The exercise simulated an aircraft with passengers crashing into a concourse, the first of its kind among the previous drills.
The objectives of the exercise were to test intra- and inter-organisational emergency procedures in the event of a serious incident, and to further enhance coordination, communication and control capabilities among different parties. More than 400 representatives from 30 government departments and organisations took part. Hong Kong Airlines was the participating airline for this year's exercise, and more than 300 volunteers from eight organisations and universities were recruited to play the roles of passengers and meeters and greeters.
The exercise unfolded at 0208hrs when both engines of a simulated departing aircraft taking off from the North Runway failed, and the plane, carrying 140 passengers and crew members, eventually collided into the North Satellite Concourse (NSC). According to the scenario, both the aircraft and the NSC caught fire. An Air Traffic Controller then witnessed the collision and activated the crash alarm.
Upon being alerted of the accident, the Airport Emergency Centre was activated immediately to facilitate close communication and effective coordination among all related parties. Airport Fire Contingent emergency vehicles arrived at the accident site in less than two minutes. Nineteen ambulances, 20 fire engines and other emergency services arrived subsequently to render rescue, medical, casualty conveyance and other support operations. Presumed casualties from the exercise included 25 dead and 78 injured. The injured were conveyed to six hospitals.
The 79 uninjured passengers, crew and staff from the aircraft and inside the NSC were escorted to two designated areas. Those from the aircraft were directed for police debriefing, immigration and customs clearances before being reunited with their relatives and friends in the Family Reception Centre at Regal Airport Hotel. Those evacuated from the NSC building were led to a police debriefing and received other passenger facilitation support.
In addition to the on-scene exercise, Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK), the Civil Aviation Department, Fire Services Department, Hong Kong Police Force and Hong Kong Airlines held a simulated press conference following the rescue operation. Nearly 40 journalism students from Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong Shue Yan University, The Chinese University of Hong Kong and The University of Hong Kong acted as reporters. The exercise stood down at 0628hrs.
C K Ng, Executive Director, Airport Operations of AAHK, said, "Today's drill was an excellent opportunity for us to practise how we would respond to the highly challenging situation of an aircraft colliding into a passenger concourse. Emergency responses involved rescue, evacuation and firefighting for both the aircraft and passenger concourse, and the lessons learnt this morning in all these and other aspects will help us refine our overall contingency procedures."
Mr Ng also stressed AAHK's commitment to upholding high standards in safety at the airport. "Safety is the cornerstone of AAHK's business. At HKIA, we strive for excellence by establishing guidelines, best practices, staff training, promotional campaigns and performance targets. Also, we constantly review the precautionary measures for working in the airport, and we seek to make continuous improvements in everything we do. While ensuring the emergency preparedness of the airport community, we also spare no effort to prevent accidents resulting from human acts," Mr Ng said.
In addition to the annual crash exercise required by aerodrome licensing requirements, HKIA conducts 90 drills, exercises and training seminars every year. These cover a variety of scenarios including severe weather, system failures, equipment malfunctions, public health incidents, fires and security issues.
Active participants in today's drill included:
Airport Fire Contingent
Airport Port Health Office/ Department of Health
Auxiliary Medical Service
Civil Aviation Department
Fire Services Department; Ambulance Command
Home Affairs Department
Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department
Hong Kong Police Force (Airport District)
Information Services Department
Aviation Security Company Ltd (AVSECO)
Hong Kong Airlines
Raffles Medical Group
Regal Airport Hotel
SATS HK Ltd
Hong Kong Baptist University
Hong Kong Shue Yan University
Hong Kong St. John Ambulance
Hong Kong Red Cross
Kwong Wah Hospital
Prince of Wales Hospital
Princess Margaret Hospital
Queen Elizabeth Hospital
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
The University of Hong Kong
Tuen Mun Hospital
Yan Chai Hospital
Agency for Volunteer Service
All Nippon Airways
City University of Hong Kong
Civil Aid Service
HKU School of Professional and Continuing Education
Hong Kong Air Cadet Corps
Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (Tsing Yi)
Hong Kong Red Cross
The exercise simulates an aircraft with passengers crashing into a concourse, the first of its kind among the previous drills. More than 400 representatives from 30 government departments and organisations take part, and more than 300 volunteers from eight organisations and universities are recruited to play the roles of passengers and meeters and greeters.
C K Ng, Executive Director, Airport Operations of AAHK, says that today’s drill is an excellent opportunity for the airport community to practise how it would respond to the highly challenging situation. The lessons learnt this morning will help the airport community refine the overall contingency procedures.
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