A look inside Israel's special emergency exercise

Emergency units respond to simulated airliner crash. Transportation Minister: We're preparing for the busiest travel season ever.

Yoni Kempinski,

Airport crash exercise
Airport crash exercise
Israel Airport Authority

Ben Gurion Airport conducted a massive training exercise on Tuesday, preparing a new runway ahead of what is anticipated to be the busiest travel season in Israel’s history.

A huge deployment of emergency units from the Israel Airports Authority, local fire departments, and other organizations participated in the exercise, which simulated a crash by an Airbus civilian jetliner carrying 178 passengers.

In the exercise, a plane, carrying some 13,500 tons of fuel, took off at 10:00 a.m. local time on a flight to Amsterdam. During takeoff, the flight crew felt abnormal vibrations in the cockpit. A crew member sitting in the cabin also reported feeling tremors.

At the same time, the airport’s foreign object detection system (FOD) picks up pieces of the jetliner’s tire on one of the runways.

Fifteen minutes into the flight, the plane’s crew have detected a drop in hydraulic oil pressure, leading the control tower at Ben Gurion to suggest that the plane return immediately to the airport and land. At this point, some 20 minutes before the plane actually lands, an emergency situation is declared.

While attempting to land the plane crashes on the runway. Emergency fire and rescue forces rush to the scene. Large numbers of wounded passengers are taken off of the plane and evacuated by MDA ambulances. At the same time a family treatment center is opened to deal with the emergency. Dozens of actors were brought in to help simulate the disaster.

Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) spoke on Tuesday about the importance of airport preparation ahead of the busy summer travel season.

“Ben Gurion Airport functions at an extremely high level of operational alertness. The airport’s infrastructure was also designed to provide a very high level of safety, including the new control tower building, the latest safety measures, and upgraded runways.”

“Our safety infrastructure allows us to implement the ‘Open Skies’ policy and to receive a greater number of flights. We’re about to begin the busiest summer travel season ever as far as Ben Gurion Airport is concerned, and this exercise highlights the airport’s preparations for our busiest travel season ever.”


Israel Airport Authority

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