22. April 2023

Around 100 rescuers in action during an emergency drill

Fire at Memmingen Airport! A passenger aircraft with 79 people on board was too low on its approach to runway 24, at which point it collided with the approach lights, came off the runway due to a burst tyre and skidded into rough terrain south of the runway. Now, all rescue services are called into action. That was the scenario that presented itself to the rescue services at Memmingen Airport on Friday evening – during a large-scale exercise.“The aim of such an emergency exercise, which the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) stipulates must be performed at regular intervals, is to practise the airport’s emergency plan and check the interaction of the emergency services.” “And it was an outstanding success,” said Airport Managing Director Ralf Schmid late in the evening. “I can only praise all the emergency responders.” Around 100 emergency personnel from various organisations (THW, Rescue Service Operations Management, the police and the fire brigade services of Memmingerberg, Benningen, Holzgünz and Trunkelsberg, as well as the District Fire Inspectorate of the Unterallgäu district and the support group for Local Operations Management from Benningen) were on site on the airport’s south side on Friday evening. They were presented with a catastrophic event: an aircraft hangar and the go-kart track area had also been damaged. People were trapped in the aircraft or ran in panic into a neighbouring wooded area.The aim of the exercise was to determine whether the interfaces and communication between the various rescue organisations and the airport fire brigade would work in the event of an incident, and whether the rescue units would be able to cope with an event of this magnitude. Although a final evaluation is still pending, Ralf Schmid believes that the task has largely been fulfilled. “Of course, there are always details that can be improved,” he summarises. “An exercise of this magnitude also serves to identify potential weak points,” he explained when the fire, simulated by a smoke machine, had been extinguised, the trapped “passengers” represented by training dummies had been freed and those survivors who had wandered from the scene had been found using a drone. Flight operations were not impaired at any time. 

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