Plane crash exercise at McAllen airport

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POSTED: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 - 4:44pm

UPDATED: Thursday, February 20, 2014 - 9:11am

People are hurt, a plane is down and first responders are on the scene. 

That's the scenario set up for firefighters and paramedics to arrive to at the McAllen airport. 

Of course, it's all fake. 

"It's a simulation of how we respond and how quickly we're able to expedite a reaction and response to this type of an incident," interim director of the McAllen Airport Liz Suarez said. 

The airport is required to do this drill every three years. 25 students from South Texas College were used as injured actors. Dozens of first responders were called in. 

"In an emergency like we want to ensure that first responders have the opportunity to practice their actions and their response," Suarez said. "So in the event of an actual event we're best prepared as possible."

The actors faking injuries today were not paid for their time. And they didn't have to pay for a dummy, made to simulate one of the three casualties during today's drill.

"I actually started crying, I really got into it. It kind of scared me, but I handled it pretty well."

Espinoza grabbed attentions in her role. The paramedic student was supposed to give first responders a hard time, making it difficult for them to do their job.

"They handled it, self-explanatory. I have some cuffs on," said a handcuffed Crystal Espinoza. "I'm hoping they take it off soon. Don't forget about me."

Sixteen agencies were part of today's drill.  Airport officials say they will measure success by how the agencies work with one another, and how quickly they respond to a real threat.  

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