Video showing plane on fire at Mumbai Airport triggers minor scare; aircraft was set on fire for mock drill

Video showing plane on fire at Mumbai Airport triggers minor scare; aircraft was set on fire for mock drill
Authorities carrying out the mock drill at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. Picture Courtesy: Sameer Karve

In a bid to examine the prudence and efficacy of the emergency response plan to cope with an aircraft emergency, Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) conducted a Full-Scale Aerodrome Emergency Exercise – ‘Operation Black Panther’ at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport today.

The first-of-its-kind exercise was held jointly with Hong-Kong based Cathay Pacific airline, a simulated aircraft disaster was enacted as a part of the mock drill.

The four-hour long exercise, carried out between 10 am to 2 pm today, helped in assessing and evaluating the preparedness of all response teams involved in the drill including stakeholders at CSIA involved in handling aircraft emergency situations.

It provided an opportunity to response teams from CSIA’s various safety units, including Fire & Emergency services, Terminals, Airside Operations, Engineering & Maintenance, Security and Medical services, to put their emergency training and skills to test.

The mock drill also helped to measure the preparedness of local emergency response units that assist MIAL during a crisis.

Around 10 major hospitals that included Leelavati, Nanavati, Seven Hills, Kokilaben Ambani, 16 Ambulance services and Government organizations such as Immigration, Customs, CISF, Police and State Disaster Management Cell participated in the drill.

To add a sense of reality to the exercise, over 800 volunteers acted as meeters/greeters, injured passengers and flight crew. The realistic mock drill, however, left an alert citizen who saw the plane on fire from his home, flustered.

The individual captured the incident on camera thinking an actual plane had caught fire and circulated the video on WhatsApp. Within hours, a message went viral, leading many of believe the news was true.

A mock drill like this encompassed all aspects of an emergency response and was an opportunity to test the preparedness, in real time situations, of agencies including fire fighting, security, medical services and communication, in overcoming the moments of distress.

The initiative was successfully implemented with full cooperation from important stakeholders such as DGCA, CISF, Customs, Immigration, Air Traffic Control, Mumbai Fire Brigade, Local Police, Airlines, Ground Handling agencies, Hospital Authorities and the State Disaster Management Authority.

The exercise reiterated Mumbai airport’s commitment towards passenger safety, an aspect that cannot be compromised on under any circumstance.

According to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) regulations, it is mandatory for all airports and airlines globally to hold this kind of exercise once every two years.

One of the videos going viral on WhatsApp:

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