Hundreds of People Simulate Plane Crash Response at MAF

By Jen Kastner
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND- Hundreds of people gathered together Saturday morning at the Midland International Airport to simulate the experience of a major plane crash.

Volunteers posing as victims laid on the runway crying out for help. Luckily, it's all staged, but it's about as close as you can get to the experiencing the real deal.

Airport Operations Supervisor Matthew Robb said, "We're simulating the crash of a Boeing 737 aircraft which is the largest plane that serves MAF and that's why we're testing that. We want the maximum response possible."

Responders in the exercise were told the aircraft went down because of engine failure, shortly after taking off.

The city of Midland is hosting the drill. Federal regulators make the airport do this exercise every three years.

Volunteer Vicki Yow says, "It's realistic. I'm surprised by how realistic it is."

Around 70 people volunteered to play victims. Their injuries were painted on with theatrical makeup.

Robb adds, "We've giving them scripts so they're able to act out the role of an actual crash victim."

Yow tells us, "I'm glad I'm acting and not having to really do this in real life."

Area law enforcement, emergency medical responders and firefighters are being put to the test to see if they're ready to handle such a huge disaster.

Sergeant Ben Chavez with the Midland Police Department says, "It gives us a hands-on [experience] to at least have an idea of how it will look and how to respond."