An airline flight from Malaga to Dublin has crash landed in a field on the Dublin/Meath border, west of Dublin Airport. There were 61 passengers on board and 6 crew members. The aircraft came down at approximately 11.25am. Minutes later, a full scale emergency operation swung into action and the Major Emergency Plan was implemented by 11.30am. This was all part of a simulated exercise which took place on Thursday 2nd October 2014.
Report By Declan Keogh
Local Gardai and Meath County Fire Service were first on the scene, quickly followed by additional fire brigade units, including Dublin Airport Fire Service. A fleet of Ambulances from across Dublin and the North East were also mobilised by the HSE Ambulance Service control centre. Voluntary services such as the Irish Red Cross and Civil Defence Units from Meath, Kildare and Cavan and surrounding areas were also called out.
Dublin Airport Fire Service responded to the crash with two Airport crash trucks, one command vehicle and a logistics vehicle. The Airport crash truck is a specialist vehicle for these types of incidents. Each truck carries 1600 litres of foam and 11,000 litres of water.
Gardai and the HSE have confirmed there were 24 fatalities following the crash, while six others died in hospital. The plane collided with a number of vehicles on crash landing. 15 people were injured on the ground, some fatally.
A field hospital was set-up on site, while casualties were also transported to six hospitals in Drogheda and Dublin. The Irish Red Cross and the Civil Defence assisted with treating casualties and carrying them to the field hospital.
The Mobile Command and Control units from the Gardai, HSE and Fire Service arrived and Communications plan was put in place. By this time, a Local Coordination Centre was also established at Meath County Council’s headquarters in Navan.
As news of the airline crash began to spread, the Local Coordination team prepared for a press briefing to the media. Information on casualty and fatality numbers, passenger information and their nationalities, the services involved, resources in place and assistance required was all being fed from the Mobile Command and Control units at the scene to the Local coordination centre in Navan.
Although this was just an exercise for the emergency services, the likelihood of such an incident could arise and the Gardai, Local Authority, the HSE, Ambulance Service and Voluntary services need to conduct such exercises, in order to test the preparedness, capabilities and working relationship of each service involved.
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