The Coffs Harbour airport mock emergency brought out the best in our rescue services.
The Coffs Harbour airport mock emergency brought out the best in our rescue services.

Rescue success in airport emergency

By CRAIG McTEAR

A PLANE with 15 people aboard has crashed and burst into flames near Coffs Harbour Airport.

It was an extraordinary scene which placed rescue crews under enormous pressure to perform.

And that's exactly what they did, with distinction, during Tuesday's mock emergency.

A who's who of Coffs Harbour emergency personnel rushed en masse to a paddock near the airport perimeter at 1pm.

The dramatic exercise involved police and ambulance officers, NSW Fire Brigades and Rural Fire Service crews, State Emergency Service personnel, Coffs Harbour Health Campus staff, airport employees and Airservices Australia officials.

They came through their test with flying colours, according to Coffs Harbour City Council.

"Being able to respond quickly, effectively and smoothly to any possible emergency that could arise at the airport is a major responsibility of council as the owner/operator," Coffs Harbour Regional Airport manager Bevan Edwards said.

"Having the opportunity to take part in an emergency exercise provides invaluable experience to both airport staff and the services involved, and I'd like to thank all the organisations that took part for their continued support.

"Real emergency situations in the past have been dealt with very professionally, not least because exercises like this one have given those involved some important experience."

Mr Edwards said mock exercises were required under civil aviation regulations.

"It also gives us the opportunity to familiarise members of the local emergency services with the airport layout, the protocols and the lines of communication between the services involved," he said.

It was vital for the city's rescue agencies to be able to practise responses to emergency situations at the regional facility, Mr Edwards said.



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