If you were flying into Sydney Airport earlier this month you may have noticed something startling taking place across the airfield with “bloodied” and “injured” passengers – but it was all fake.
The “gruesome” scenes were actually part of a staged aircraft crash training exercise involving airport staff and other official agencies ranging from NSW Ambulance, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.
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The scenario, which took six months of planning, involved the crash landing of an international trans-Tasman flight (Boeing 787-900) carrying 302 passengers.
Sydney Airport shared footage to its Instagram page giving viewers a look inside its emergency response training.
“We had a fake plane crash scenario, complete with casualties and debris,” they wrote.
Footage showed limbless mannequins and staff covered in fake blood scattered over the tarmac acting as injured passengers.
“Emergency services from forensics, ambulance, police, to the fireys participated in the exercise,” the caption read.
Under the scenario, 151 passengers were deceased, 70 were transported to hospital and the remaining were treated onsite and released.
There were around 10 Sydney Airport employees role playing deceased victims, and more than 100 staff from emergency agencies and organisations.
There were emergency vehicles on site like police cars and aviation fire trucks, an inflatable aircraft fuselage in three pieces, and debris like aircraft seats and luggage strewn across the crash site.
News.com.au understands the purpose of these exercises is to test and refine the processes and procedures of Sydney Airport teams and emergency agencies that would respond in the event of a real emergency.
“We do this every year with different scenarios to test response procedures and protocols,” the Instagram post read.
There have been a few historical incidents at Sydney Airport including the engine failure of a Beechcraft Super King Advance Airlines plane in 1980.
The plane took off took off from Sydney Airport and suffered an engine failure, crashing into the sea wall surrounding the runway. All 13 people on-board died in the accident.
In 1994, Douglas DC-3 of South Pacific Airmotive also suffered an engine malfunction shortly after takeoff on a charter flight to Norfolk Island and ditched into Botany Bay.
All four crew and 21 passengers – pupils and teachers of Scots College and journalists travelling to participate in Anzac Day commemorations on Norfolk Island – safely evacuated the aircraft.
Meanwhile, on October 19, 1994, Ansett Australia Flight 881, a Boeing 747-300 operating from Sydney to Osaka, returned and landed at Sydney without the nose wheel extended.
Approximately one hour after departure, the crew shut down the number one engine because of an oil leak.
They returned the aircraft to Sydney where the approach proceeded normally until the landing gear was extended. The landing gear warning horn began to sound because the nose landing gear had not extended.
The flight crew unsuccessfully attempted to establish the reason for the warning. Believing the gear to be down, the crew elected to complete the landing, with the result that the aircraft was landed with the nose gear retracted.
There was no fire and the pilot in command decided not to initiate an emergency evacuation. All passengers and crew were evacuated safely.