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Mock plane crash held near Fort Benning

Published: Feb. 12, 2022 at 1:31 AM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - The Columbus Airport joined several agencies in hosting a downed aircraft emergency exercise. The goal was to ensure first responders know dangerous associated with military and civilian aircraft.

For the first time, Columbus Airport joined Columbus Fire and EMS, Fort Benning and Chattahoochee Fire Department to host a mock plane crash.

“Being able to work together makes it much easier for us to respond when the incident actually happens,” said Chief of Columbus Airport Public Safety Andre Parker.

The drill was held in the back of the old Spencer High School near Victory Drive. One participants says the location was perfect, considering many plan crashes don’t happen near airports.

“Over 70 percent of the aircraft - when they fail, they don’t fail at the airport,” said Captain Charles Herlth with Columbus Fire & EMS. “They fail in flight. When they have catastrophic failure, they’re coming down somewhere in a rural area.”

The drill began with a radio call from a helicopter warning of possible trouble. A mock aircraft was also set on fire, causing fatalities in the wooded area. During the drill, first responders learned the dangers associated with responding to military and civilian plane crashes.

“Even the fuel’s different,” said Captain Herlth. “JP-8 burns much hotter than normal fuel. So they just need to be aware of those dangers -- what to look out for, how to approach the aircraft, how to shut an aircraft down.”

Now that these agencies have practiced responding to emergency situations like these, Captain Herlth says he hopes to continue having drills like these throughout the city.

“My goal actually is to do it in a lot of the remote locations around Columbus -- hopefully, maybe behind the mall one evening when nobody’s there, at the edge of the airport,” said Captain Herlth. “Maybe at Northside High School.”

Captain Herlth says he hopes to someday have these exercises in Chattahoochee, Stewart, and Marion aircrafts to raise awareness about the dangers of military and civilian aircrafts.

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