Plane crash simulation at ABIA helps rescue workers sharpen skills

Realistic tragedy designed to prepare EMS for the worst

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A chaotic scene unfolded at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport on Wednesday as firefighters and medics rushed to save passengers aboard a plane after a horrific crash on the runway. Fortunately for everyone involved, it was just a drill.

“The fuselage of the jet broke open. We do have some fatalities simulated in this,” said Jim Halbrook, a spokesperson with the airport. “We have some luggage scattered, we have some body parts scattered, some mannequin body parts.”

The exercise is a recreation of a real life crisis involving several emergency agencies, including local and state officials.

“What you’re getting to see is some of the same responders who might go to an emergency somewhere else,” added Holbrook. “Getting to practice the same skills as well as some of the other emergency management.”

About 150 volunteers took part, playing the part of injured and traumatized patients. Some played dead.

The drill had several moving parts that also included Red Cross training in dealing with a tragedy.

“How to help passengers, how to help the families that are flying in,” said Reihaneh Hajibeigi with Red Cross of Central Texas. “How to deal with the shock and the trauma that is this plane crash.”

This real-life scenario is required by the Federal Aviation Administration every three years. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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