'Plane crash' at Mangalore airport claims '6 lives'

Even as the May 2010 aircrash is still fresh in the minds of Mangaloreans, the Mangalore airport witnessed another ‘disaster’ at 4 pm on May 29, 2014, claiming six ‘lives’ just outside the airport, following which all the disaster fighting mechanisms, viz., Airport Authority of India (AAI), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Karnataka State Fire and Emergency Service (KSFS), District Disaster Management Committee, Ambulance services, Medical aid rushed to the spot as a part of rescue operation.

The 67 passengers who were in the ill-fated flight were immediately categorized --- those who need immediate care, delayed care, minor care etc according to the gravity of the injuries they ‘suffered’. 

It was heart-rendering to witness the screaming and scrambling of the injured ones with burnt flesh melting out of their body. Quite a few were wincing in pain on the ground unable to get up. The entire area was choked with stink of burnt flesh and metal parts. The fire and rescue personnel and medical aid team shifted the injured in no time to the nearby make-shift tents and provided first-aid. They were taken to nearby hospitals thereafter.

It was the once in a two year mock drill unfolded at the outer of the airport, to check the preparedness and efficiency of the authorities concerned to deal with a major disaster situation. In the exercise, a miniature-model of an aircraft was put on fire. Immediately, the alarm sound was on followed by the rushing of AAI’s fire brigade splashing white foam towards the inferno to extinguish it. Four more fire engine services of KSFS followed and joined the effort

. Then, half a dozen ambulance services rushed to the spot including two of state owned emergency 108 services. A temporary hospital was set up in the airport premises. After a fruitful rescue and relief measures which extended to 30 minutes, the entire operation was declared to be over with causalities of six deceased and 35 critically injured. Airport Director J T Radhakrishna said that the mock exercise is a mandatory one as according to the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) regulations.

 Chief Fire and Safety Officer H S Varada Rajaan explained that as there was a lack of co-ordination at the time of plane crash in 2010 May, they are leaving nothing to chances to avert such incidents. The Nodal officer of district disaster management committee, Manjunath, other AAI officials oversaw the operation.  Meanwhile, there have been complaints that major airline operators including Air India were not tipped-off about the exercise.  

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