Bhubaneswar, Jan. 18: Airports Authority of India (AAI) organised a mock safety drill at Biju Patnaik Airport here on Friday.
The drill dealt with a situation where a Tempo-20 aircraft flying from Kakid (a point of reference on the flight path between Calcutta and Bhubaneswar) with 42 passengers on board developed a snag was forced to crash land at the city airport around 4pm.
The air traffic control (ATC) declared an emergency and the airport officials sought multi-agency emergency help from the city and the state administration. Officials concerned from hospitals, police, fire service and disaster management professionals rushed to the spot.
Authorities found five persons with severe injuries and 29 with minor wounds. Five persons were considered dead.
Such drills are organised by the AAI once in two years.
“This drill intended to send a clear message about our emergency preparedness, especially with regard to situations such as fire mishaps or crash-landings. We convened a preparatory meeting yesterday and today, all agencies were present. Odisha Fire Service, Odisha State Disaster Management Authority, three major airlines, Capital Hospital, Apollo Hospital, commissionerate police and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) took part in the drill along with the AAI units,” said a senior AAI official.
Airport director Sharad Kumar said: “The message was also transmitted through the ATC and the drill was carried out so that every unit of AAI was completely involved. While 32 employees of the Airport Fire Service (AFS) and 25 from a private airline also participated, the injured and dead were segregated into four categories to provide immediate attention.’’
Officer on special duty, AAI, H.J. Parmar said: “Two crash fire tenders were pressed into service. The Czech-made fire tenders are capable of spraying water from powerful water cannons. These can use fire-extinguishing chemicals as well.”
“The security guards took their positions around the mock drill site and helped in locating the debris and bodies according to plan,” CISF deputy commandant S.K. Bajpayee said.
The tentative date for inauguration of the new domestic terminal at Biju Patnaik Airport has been fixed as February 5. Earlier, it was hoped that the new terminal would be opened in the last week of January.
“We have fixed a tentative date after a discussion with senior government officials today so that the agencies concerned would work on a war footing and give their best,” said airport director Sharad Kumar.
The Rs 145-crore terminal had already missed two deadlines.