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Fayetteville Airport holds triennial disaster training exercise

Posted April 28

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— Bodies on the runway. Crash victims screaming for help. It was part of the Fayetteville Regional Airport’s triennial disaster training exercise Thursday morning.

"Planes crashing, bombs going off, car accidents, anything that involves more than one patient is definitely important," said Jeff Vigil, a Fort Bragg Solider and paramedic-in-training.

Fayetteville fire and rescue crews were called to the airport to simulate a plane crash. The scenario involved a Delta MD 88 with 100 people onboard.

Students from the Fayetteville Christian Academy volunteered to be crash victims.

"I am a burn victim and I can't talk, so I am going to see if they can carry me," said student Jonathan Hyden.

Although rescue crews knew the crash was part of an exercise, they treated it like a real-life scenario.

"Right now, they've got some contamination that they are going to have to respond to as far as a decontamination site is concerned," said Assistant Airport Manager Toney Coleman. "There are the simulated dead, the walking wounded, and all of the students are practicing with us to make sure that our fire guys and emergency responders know what they are doing."

Several law enforcement agencies were involved, including the FBI and the SBI. The Red Cross was also inside helping family members of the victims.

"We want the media here to see what is going on right now, so they can help our flying public recognize that that the airport is serious about safety," Coleman said.

The crews spent the last three days in the classroom learning what to do in a disaster.

The crews say they hope to never use the training, but called it necessary.

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