Wednesday, June 18, 2008

'Midair crash' tests emergency services

Express Staff Writer

More than 100 volunteers and professional emergency services personnel turned out Saturday to deal with a simulated midair collision of two aircraft near the end of the Friedman Memorial Airport runway.

While 24 "victims" of the mock crash were scattered around the "wreckage"—an old bus representing a crashed airliner and a pickup representing a small aircraft—an emergency call went out from Friedman to all the valley's police, fire, ambulance and hospital services to rush to the Hailey airport to deal with the pretend disaster.

Friedman operations manager Peter Kramer said the scenario for the test of emergency services involved an airliner on approach to Friedman that is struck by a small, single-engine aircraft that had lost radio communications with the tower.

The Federal Aviation Administration requires the exercise periodically as part of the airport's certification.

Kramer said upwards of 70 emergency personnel were involved in the rescue of posing victims. Atlantic Aviation/Sun Valley, Hertz and Avis donated several vehicles to the exercise.

Ketchum's and Sun Valley's fire departments did not participate, he said, because they had scheduled a fire department appreciation day.

Kramer called the drill a success.

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