Emergency crews in disaster training at airport

IT'S a scenario no one wants to see happen, but one the Gold Coast Airport has to be prepared for.

A replica plane shell was set alight yesterday at the airport as part of an annual training exercise to test the emergency plan.

General manager of Aviation Services Rob Porter said the scenario was that a BAE 146 aircraft carrying 40 high-rollers coming to the Gold Coast for the V8 Supercars had slipped off the runway and there were two trapped inside with seven dead.

At about 10am, firefighters doused the large hulk with fuel before setting it alight, sending a plume of black smoke billowing into the air.

The heat was intense, but within moments airport firefighters arrived in two Rosembauer Panthers with roof-mounted hoses and fired a powerful mixture of foam and water to quickly extinguish most of the flames.

The left wing was heavily covered in fuel and firefighters emerged from the trucks to use hand held hoses to finally put the blaze out.

Mr Porter said over 70 emergency services personnel from a number of organisations including, New South Wales and Queensland Police, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, the aviation transport safety bureau and the Queensland Ambulance Service were involved in the exercise.

The exercise continued after the flames were put out.

Mr Porter said after the initial response the exercise was accelerated by two hours.

A command post was set-up and management of the disaster began.

Mr Porter said the $1.2 million Rosembauer Panther trucks have a capacity of 10,500 litres, which can be fired at 70 litres a second -- leaving tanks empty within two minutes.

Yesterday afternoon general manager of corporate affairs Elissa Keenan said the exercise was a success.

"The feedback has been very positive from all agencies," Ms Keenan said.

Mr Porter said the Tugun bypass had no effect on the airport,s emergency plan.

The airport has up to 58 flights per day and operates from 6am to 11pm.



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