FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – On an airfield, in the west side of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Friday night, first responders descended on two planes on the runway. A specialized fire truck sprayed a Jet Blue plane with water as it rolled up, and paramedics plucked people from the cabin and rushed them to safety.
It had all the markings of an actual emergency, except the wounded passengers were actually actors with makeup. And the first responders were taking part in a drill that's mandated every three years by the Federal Aviation Administration.
More than 13 agencies participated in the drill. The scenario involved two commercial aircraft that collided on the runway in a simulated accident.
"The first thing we want to do is get in quickly, save as many lives as we possibly can. And that's going to involve extinguishment of the fire, mitigating any hazards, and rescuing and removing any of the victims from the area," said Plantation Fire Battalion Chief Joel Gordon.
The drill was observed by aviation executives and brass with the Broward Sheriff's Office. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is ranked 21st in the United States in total passenger traffic.