Those who saw clouds of dark smoke ominously rising from Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport on Thursday, October 27, 2011, will be relieved to know that they were only witnessing the byproducts of a “hot drill” preparedness exercise simulating an aircraft crash.
The emergency response event involved some 114 personnel, including airport security, search and rescue personnel, members of the Indonesian Air Force, medical personnel and employees of the state-owned oil company Pertamina. Equipment deployed comprised rescue boats, command vehicles, ambulances, fire trucks, foam tenders and a range of other emergency response equipment.
Carried out at a corner of the airport on the western approach to the main runway, the drill simulated the crash of a Boeing 737-200 aircraft with 90 passengers and 5 crew on board.
According to the scenario, as the fictional aircraft touched the edge of runway 09, the plane’s tail section broke off and fell into the ocean, while the remainder of the airplane laid burning on the runway's apron. Emergency response teams immediately set about extinguishing the flames while others focused on evacuating wounded passengers from the wreckage.
Quoted in the Bali Post, Purwanto, the general manager of PT Angkasa Pura I, the managers of the Ngurah Rai International Airport said, “this exercise tested the skills and dependability of personnel and fire-fighting equipment.” Purwanto cited statistics stating that 46% of all aircraft accidents occur during the landing and take-off process.
Emergency preparedness ratings for Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport certify that equipment is in place for handling accidents up to and including a fully-loaded Boeing 747-400 aircraft.
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