Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) has tested its readiness in handling emergencies and crises by holding an aircraft crash and rescue exercise.

This year’s exercise saw the participation of Hong Kong Airlines, along with more than 20 organisations and government departments.

Several volunteers were hired to act as passengers, greeters and visitors at the airport.

During the multi-layered setting exercise, the airport simulated an aircraft crash when the nose gear of a virtual arrival flight broke down during landing on the South Runway.

A chemical leak was subsequently simulated in the aircraft’s main cabin due to the crash.

The chemical substance, a detergent, caused skin and eye irritation to some passengers and crew members on board. The crash resulted in one simulated death and 14 simulated injuries.

Following the incident, Airport Fire Contingent personnel immediately activated the crash alarm while emergency services, including Hong Kong Police Force and Fire Services Department (FSD), quickly reached the spot.

Moreover, Airport Emergency Centre was activated for close communications and coordination among various departments.

FSD Operational HazMat Sub-team also set up a mass decontamination facility on the ramp.

Injured individuals were rescued and moved to four hospitals while uninjured passengers were transferred to the Passenger Reception Centre for assistance and police debriefing.

After immigration and customs clearance, uninjured passengers were sent to the Family Reception Centre to reunite with their families.

Airport Authority Hong Kong (AA) general manager Chapman Fong said: “Safety is of the utmost importance at HKIA, and the drill provides a valuable opportunity for the airport community to test its readiness in response to contingencies and its ability to manage crises.

“In view of the pandemic, a series of enhanced health measures were also in place during the exercise to protect the health and safety of our participants and staff.”