POSTED: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 7:20am
UPDATED: Tuesday, May 6, 2014 - 8:10am
BROWNSVILLE, TX (KVEO NEWSCENTER 23) — No need to panic if you're passing near the Brownsville South Padre International Airport today.
Beginning at 9am the airport will be conducting a mock crash training exercise. Officials say there will be a few hundred people on the scene participating along with an actual vintage aircraft. Exercises like this are required every three years by the FAA to test first responders. Again the exercise will run from about 9 am to noon.
If you are traveling near the Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport next Wednesday, April 16 between 9 am and noon, what you see is not what you first think. The Airport will be using a vintage Viscount passenger aircraft to simulate an air crash near the International Air Cargo Terminal on Vermillion Avenue.
Every three years the Federal Aviation Administration requires passenger airports to test the Airport’s first responders as if a real air crash had occurred. More than 150 students from Brownsville’s Veterans Memorial High School and employees from the City of Brownsville and Cameron county Emergency Services as well as the Red Cross will put on moulage make up simulating injuries that might be suffered in a real air crash and act as if they need help. Participants in previous drills say the look, the sound, and the feel is as if it was really happened. “Some of the volunteer participants are great actors” City of Brownsville Aviation Director Larry A. Brown said. “Of course that is exactly what we need to conduct a meaningful excercise” Brown added.
The Brownsville Fire and Police Departments, Emergency Medical Services from both the City and Cameron County, Texas Department of Public Safety, as well as several Federal Agencies in including U.S. Customs and Immigration, Border Patrol and the Transportation Security Agency will participate in the life like test of resources and response.
“The lessons learned from the exercise can save lives” Brown said. Photographs, videos, and various reports will be compiled and submitted to the FAA for review. A passing grade would recertify the airport for three more years he explained.