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Phuket Airport disaster drill hailed a “success’

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PHUKET: The emergency response drill at Phuket International Airport (PIA) on Thursday was a “success”, PIA Director Sq Ldr Pornchai Eua-aree told a press conference after the event.

The drill started at 10 am with PIA air traffic control guiding a Thai Airways International Airbus A300-600 simulating engine trouble in to land.

Once safely stopped on the tarmac, the aircraft was quickly doused by fire trucks and firemen on the ground in high-heat-resistant firefighting suits.

Fake red smoke bellowed from the aircraft’s engine and a simulated explosion boomed across the airport.

Able-bodied passengers were evacuated from the plane using the emergency chutes, while those simulating injuries were carried by rescue workers to medical staff waiting under tents set up on the apron.

Rescue helicopters arrived to airlift “victims” to hospital.

Reporting response times, K. Pornchai said that ambulances from Thalang Hospital, Phuket International Hospital, Bangkok Phuket Hospital and Patong Hospital had all arrived on the scene within 15 minutes.

The exercise was declared over around 10:30 am. By that time, all passengers had been “rescued” and promptly given medical attention by the hospital staff on the ground. The fire was also supposedly put out.

Some 14 agencies worked together in response to the simulated emergency.

After the simulation, K. Pornchai gave a detailed account of the morning’s proceedings.

Stressing the importance of such a drill, K. Pornchai also said that the number of passengers traveling through the airport this year has already surpassed five million, and that the number is expected to reach 5.5 million by the end of the year.

 

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