WKYT | Lexington, Kentucky | News

Plane crash drill at Blue Grass Airport keeps responders ready

By: Tim Johnston Email
By: Tim Johnston Email

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The runway was shut down at the Blue Grass Airport because a plane with a hundred people on board crashed, yet the survivors were seen laughing and the plane was really just a school bus. While that may sound misleading, don't be confused. This drill is a serious process.

"These drills have to happen," stated Gary Ginn, Fayette County Coroner. This is not just for the practice but also as a mandate for proper accreditation.

"Per federal aviation administration requirements, all commercial airports have to go through a full scale emergency exercise," explained Louise Bowden, of the Blue Grass Airport, adding that it's required to be done every three years.

The goal is to make it like "real life," as Ginn described.

Bowden continued, "It really gives us an opportunity to make sure that we're taking all the necessary steps."

The victims are really just volunteer actors. Each one is made up with certain injuries that need to be addressed and they're told just how severe, or even alive, they're supposed to be. The responders, however, are the real deal.

"We do these drills in order to make sure that we're going to do it right," answered Ginn.

Just like real life, the crews arrive in stages and each with a certain responsibility. There were fire crews and police officers from Lexington, crews from the Blue Grass Airport, surrounding counties sent fire fighters and coroners to join in the exercise.

"It's important to know who those people are, who's going to be taking care of different of this," said Ginn.

The drill was hours in when rain and lightening cut it short, but the reality is that everyone involved knows how critical this training can be.

"As tragic as it is, fatalities do happen," started Ginn, adding "I relate this to 5191, obviously, because we've already had that here at the Lexington Blue Grass Airport."

"It's kind of a way to enact that because, hopefully, we don't have that incident," said Bowden.

So with each move that's made in the simulation, the real responders get closer to being ready should tragedy ever hit this airport again.


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