Growing Airport Gets Crash Practice - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Growing Airport Gets Crash Practice

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Passenger numbers at Williston's Sloulin Field are triple - up 219% in July from one year ago.

The airport now supports several 50-seat jets a day, and with that kind of traffic, Sloulin Field is now required by FAA regulations to host a simulated plane crash every three years.

The scenario on Saturday involved a severe thunderstorm and an interrupted landing that caused the plane to skid across the runway with 37 people on board.

Jennifer Thorgramson tells us how the first simulated plane crash at Sloulin Field could mean the preparedness needed to save a life.

In Boomtown, there are aspects that seem outside control.

All the more reason to prepare for the unthinkable: safety in the event of a plane crash at Sloulin Field International Airport.

It's sunrise over oil country.

And our volunteers are applying makeup for a very different role.

"Passenger on plane, have no injuries however you are hysterical from the crash."

"You are in pain and your upper right arm is swelling."

"No injuries, just shook up from landing."

"Act as if you normally would in such a situation."

"My head slammed into the seat in front of me and I broke my neck and I'm dead."

(Steven Kjergaard, Sloulin Field International Airport Manager) "This is a drill. We have an aircraft on lane 22-0 on the north side. Possible smoke from a possible brake fire."

(Bill Reishus, Rapid City Regional Airport Firefighter) "If a plane actually goes down, it's about three minutes for that crash truck to get to you. "

(Steven Kjergaard, Sloulin Field International Airport Manager) "Begin response now."

(Bill Reishus, Rapid City Regional Airport Firefighter) "That three minutes seems like an eternity."

"They need help! Let's go!"

(Mike Hallesy, Director of Emergency Management for Williams County & City of Williston) "With the oil boom, we are now taking 50 passenger regional jets, we have many of those a day so, according to FAA regulations, we need to do exercises to demonstrate that we have the ability to respond to such an incident."

(Bill Reishus, Rapid City Regional Airport Firefighter) "You want to get your walking wounded away from the airplane to someplace safe. I thought the firefighters did a good job when people started coming off the airplane, they were able to say, 'follow me.'"

(Mike Hallesy, Director of Emergency Management for Williams County & City of Williston) "We have 35-40 people who will all need attention all at once so it will be a good test of our emergency response capabilities."

(Bill Reishus, Rapid City Regional Airport Firefighter) "Who was the person that lost their luggage? That was awesome. A lot of times you will find somebody who is aimlessly walking around and not making a lot of sense. Those are typically the hardest people to try to contain and keep your scene safe."

Among the injured: A young girl who lost her dad and a stranger who stuck by her side.

Scenes meant to remain in the preparedness category for Sloulin Field.

(Mike Hallesy, Director of Emergency Management for Williams County & City of Williston) "The objective is to, as a group, what worked, what didn't work, and where can we improve."

Peace of mind. With a piece of control.

In Williston, Jennifer Thorgramson, KX News.

Communication is often the weak point in simulations like this - but officials agreed that it went fairly smooth once the simulation began.

The exercise was carried out from start to finish --- all 37 victims were transported to Mercy Medical Center where hospital staff also went through an emergency response drill.

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