Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) conducted its annual aircraft crash and rescue exercise on Wednesday morning to test its readiness and effectiveness in handling contingencies.
Over 1,000 representatives from more than 100 organizations and government departments joined the exercise, which aims to provide opportunities for the airport community and related parities to familiarise themselves with and practise cooperation in emergency procedures dealing with aircraft incidents.
The drill started at 2:00 a.m. (Hong Kong time) when a simulated arrival flight carrying 130 people mistakenly entered a taxiway not assigned for its use after landing. The aircraft caught fire and caused heavy smoke inside the cabin after its starboard engine had hit a construction site hoarding and crashed into an adjacent diesel generator.
Air Traffic Control Tower personnel immediately activated the crash alarm. The Airport Emergency Center (AEC) was activated to facilitate close communications and coordination among different departments and organizations. A mobile liaison center was also set up to coordinate the field activities with on-scene commanding units of government departments.
In the simulated scenario, 15 fire appliances and 16 ambulances were deployed to the scene. A total of 3 deaths and 80 injuries were reported. Injured passengers and crew members were rescued and conveyed to six hospitals by ambulance or other vehicles. The exercise stood down at 6:30 a.m. (Hong Kong time).
C K Ng, Executive Director of the Airport Authority Hong Kong's Airport Operations, said, "At HKIA, safety is paramount and we always put priority on safeguarding the safety of passengers and the airport community. The exercise this morning provided an opportunity to test the coordination and rescue procedures related to a construction site at the airport."
Ng added that the airport authority will continue conducting various drills with their contractors and business partners to ensure the readiness of all parties in response to contingencies.
Each year HKIA conducts more than 100 drills, exercises and training seminars covering a number of operational disruption and emergency response scenarios, including severe weather, system failure, equipment malfunctions, public health incidents and security issues.