A large exercise held this past weekend at the Ben Gurion International Airport simulated a serious aviation disaster.
During the exercise, which was named Flamingo and was conducted by the Israel Airports Authority (IAA), an emergency landing was simulated, during which the plane's left landing gear collapsed. As a result, the left engine and wing brushed against the runway and the plane caught fire, killing 37 passengers and injuring dozens.
The exercise was attended by fire fighters, paramedics, Israeli police officers and members of the ZAKA volunteer organization’s Shfela area unit, commanded by Mendy Haviv.
A total of about 1,200 people, 90 ambulances and 20 fire engines took part in the exercise. According to Haviv, “This exercise is extremely important, because ZAKA Shfela volunteers are called to the airport whenever there is an emergency landing. It is important that the volunteers are prepared if, G-d forbid, a real incident were to take place.”
The exercise began at 10:00 a.m. local Israeli time, using skeletons of old buses which were torched as a model. In the first stage, the rescue forces set themselves at the scene of the “accident.” The second stage included putting out the fire, and then treating the “survivors and casualties” among the passengers. IDF soldiers played the passengers in the crashed plane. The third stage of the exercise took place at the Trade Fairs & Convention Center in Tel Aviv, where a treatment center for victims' families opened up.
Rami Nir, head of ground operations at the IAA, summed up the exercise a success, adding that the cooperation between all participating parties was successful.