Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Emergency responders stage drill simulating disastrous plane crash



Emergency responders stage drill simulating disastrous plane crash

Emergency responders stage drill simulating disastrous plane crash

INTENSE black smoke billowed up from the Military Air Force Base in Phnom Penh Tuesday morning. Nearby villagers could have been forgiven if they thought a plane had caught fire on the runway.

But the scene was merely part of an exercise meant to prepare emergency responders in the event of an actual disaster.

The exercise was aimed at strengthening the capabilities of local officials to respond in cases where urgent rescues are needed, said Deputy Prime Minister Sok An.

The airport emergency exercise “is necessary for the airport to protect and prevent unexpected incidents in order to keep passengers secure and protect their lives”, Sok An said.

On Tuesday morning, observers said they could hear the piercing sounds of sirens, as fire trucks and ambulances headed at full speed towards the scene – part of a crew of 630 participants from 19 different units, including civilian and military police, firefighters and the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces.

Crash spurred exercise
The responders extinguished the blaze from a pile of old tyres that had been set alight to symbolise a burning plane. While crews from 10 fire trucks battled the staged blaze, other emergency responders, with special black-clad commandos serving as security, practised rescuing victims and carrying them to ambulances, which shuttled the simulated casualties to local hospitals.

The State Secretariat of Civil Aviation said they warned nearby residents of the exercise four days in advance. Mao Havanal, a secretary of state at the State Secretariat, said such large-scale exercises are conducted roughly once every two years, and that a smaller one takes place annually.

The first exercise was conducted in 2007, following a Kampot province plane crash that killed 22 people, he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • Cambodia's cluster cases jump to 259

    The Ministry of Health on February 27 recorded 26 more cases of Covid-19 linked to the February 20 community transmission, bringing the total to 259 in one week. The 26 include three Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. The ministry noted that five of the Chinese