Hong Kong International passes the hero test

Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) successfully conducted its annual aircraft crash and rescue exercise this morning, proving its readiness and effectiveness in handling contingencies. The exercise aims to provide opportunities for the airport community, Government departments and related organisations to familiarise themselves with and practise cooperation in emergency procedures dealing with aircraft incidents.

Over 1,000 representatives from more than 100 organisations and Government departments joined the exercise. Volunteers were also recruited to simulate as passengers, meeters and greeters, and journalists. Cathay Pacific Airways was the participating airline in this year’s exercise.

The exercise started at 0200hrs when a simulated arrival flight carrying 130 people mistakenly entered a taxiway not assigned for its use after landing. According to the exercise scenario, the starboard engine of the A350 aircraft hit the construction site hoarding of the Remaining Midfield Area and crashed into an adjacent diesel generator. The aircraft then caught fire, causing heavy smoke inside the aircraft cabin.

Air Traffic Control Tower personnel immediately activated the crash alarm, and emergency services arrived at the accident site soon afterwards to render rescue, medical, casualty conveyance and other support operations. The Airport Emergency Centre (AEC) was activated to facilitate close communications and coordination among different departments and organisations. The Airport Fire Contingent, Chek Lap Kok Fire Station and Tung Chung Fire Station deployed 15 fire appliances and 16 ambulances to the scene. A mobile liaison centre was also set up to coordinate the field activities with on-scene commanding units of government departments.

In the simulated scenario, 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. Uninjured passengers were taken 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.

C K Ng, Executive Director, Airport Operations, AA, said, “At HKIA, safety is paramount and we always put priority on safeguarding the safety of passengers and the airport community. With a number of ongoing expansion plans, and some more in the pipeline, we are operating alongside construction activities inside the already-busy airport. The exercise this morning provided an opportunity to test the coordination and rescue procedures related to a construction site at the airport. We will continue conducting various drills with our contractors and business partners to ensure the readiness of all parties in response to contingencies.”

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