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HKIA Tests Emergency Response in Aircraft Crash and Rescue Exercise


Emergency services including Fire Services Department and Hong Kong Police Force promptly arrive at the incident site after the crash alarm is activated in order to render rescue, medical and other support operations.
A decontamination facility is set up on the apron by Fire Services Department to assist with decontamination procedures for passengers on site.
The Airport Emergency Centre is activated to facilitate close communication and co-ordination between various departments and organisations.
Chapman Fong, General Manager, Airfield of Airport Authority Hong Kong, says the exercise provides a valuable opportunity for the airport community to test their readiness in response to contingencies and to strengthen their ability to manage crises.

(HONG KONG, 20 November 2020, 0900hrs)  –  Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) held its aircraft crash and rescue exercise this morning, testing the airport’s ability to handle a multifaceted scenario involving an aircraft crash and subsequent chemical leak in the aircraft cabin.

Hong Kong Airlines Limited was the participating airline this year, with more than 20 organisations and Government departments joining the exercise. Volunteers were recruited to role-play as passengers as well as meeters and greeters.

The exercise started at 0200hrs when the nose gear of a simulated arrival flight collapsed during landing on the South Runway. A chemical substance, suspected to be detergent, leaked into the main cabin of the aircraft due to the collapse, causing eye and skin irritation to some passengers and crew members on board. Airport Fire Contingent personnel witnessed the incident and immediately activated the crash alarm. Emergency services including the Fire Services Department (FSD) and Hong Kong Police Force promptly arrived at the incident site to render immediate rescue, medical and other support operations. Meanwhile, the Airport Emergency Centre was activated to facilitate close communications and coordination among various departments and organisations. Upon confirmation from the airline that chemical had leaked into the cabin, FSD Operational HazMat Sub-team was immediately turned out to set up a mass decontamination facility on the apron.

A total of one simulated death and 14 simulated injuries were reported during the exercise. Injured passengers and crew members were rescued and conveyed to four hospitals in ambulances or other vehicles. Uninjured passengers were transferred to the Passenger Reception Centre for assistance and police debriefing, and then underwent immigration and customs clearance before going to the Family Reception Centre to reunite with their families.

Airport Authority Hong Kong (AA), Air Accident Investigation Authority, Hong Kong Airlines Limited, Fire Services Department and Hong Kong Police Force conducted a joint press conference to brief role-play media representatives on the incident and rescue operations. The exercise stood down at 0520hrs.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a host of enhanced health measures were implemented during the exercise. The number of participants in the exercise was reduced. Meanwhile, all persons taking part in the exercise had to undergo body temperature screening and wear face masks. While at the Passenger Reception Centre and Family Reception Centre, hand sanitiser was provided at the entrances and key locations; people were also required to maintain appropriate physical distance.

Chapman Fong, General Manager, Airfield of the AA, said, “Safety is of the utmost importance at HKIA, and the drill provides a valuable opportunity for the airport community to test its readiness in response to contingencies and its ability to manage crises. In view of the pandemic, a series of enhanced health measures were also in place during the exercise to protect the health and safety of our participants and staff.”

The crash exercise is conducted according to aerodrome licensing requirements. HKIA conducts drills, exercises and training seminars regularly, covering a variety of operational disruption and emergency response scenarios, including severe weather, system failure, equipment malfunctions, public health incidents and security issues.

Active participants in today’s exercise included: (in alphabetical order)

Government departments

  • Air Accident Investigation Authority
  • Auxiliary Medical Service
  • Civil Aviation Department
  • Civil Aid Service
  • Customs & Excise Department
  • Fire Services Department
  • Home Affairs Department
  • Hong Kong Police Force
  • Hospital Authority and the following hospitals:

           - North Lantau Hospital

           - Yan Chai Hospital

           - Tuen Mun Hospital

           - Princess Margaret Hospital

  • Immigration Department
  • Information Services Department

Business partners

  • Airport Chaplaincy
  • Aviation Security Company Limited
  • Hong Kong Airlines Limited
  • Pan Asia Pacific Aviation Services Limited
  • Raffles Medical Group
  • Regal Airport Hotel
  • SATS HK Limited


  • Hong Kong Red Cross
  • Hong Kong St. John Ambulance

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