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The simulation included the taking of hostages

Published 18th June 2018, 9:55am

Grand Cayman, (GIS): A highly realistic emergency preparedness exercise took place at the Charles Kirkconnell International Airport on Cayman Brac last week.

The lifelike scenario that played out in the simulation involved a rapidly unfolding terrorist situation involving two vicious thugs, the hijacking of a small commercial flight, shootouts, fatalities and over a dozen persons taken as hostages.

Participants in the gory scenario were Cayman Islands Airport Authority personnel, notably: all security staff, Fire Service and RCIPS officers, Customs and Immigration personnel, Cayman Airways ground staff, government medical personnel from Faith Hospital, the Cayman Brac Red Cross, National Cadet Corps and volunteers as well as observers from the Civil Aviation Authority from Grand Cayman.

Led by CIAA Head of Safety, Mr. Andrew McLaughlin, the whole exercise unfolded with military precision, highlighting the skills of all the Brac airport and uniformed emergency personnel. Enthusiastic volunteers included children.

The airport’s security operations were overseen by CIAA Head of Security, Mr. Shane Bothwell. On Grand Cayman, CIAA officers observed the exercise at the Brac airport in real time via close circuit television.

The exercise was conducted in the evening, after all commercial flight operations had ceased and the airport had officially closed for the day.

“We conduct preparedness exercises regularly both on Cayman Brac and Grand Cayman and we do this to hone our skills and abilities and improve our procedures. And we do this with as little inconvenience to actual daily users of our airports as possible,” explained Mr. McLaughlin. “We also debrief thoroughly after each exercise to see where our gaps are, and in that case, what we should be doing better.”

Mr. McLaughlin added, “I am very pleased at the wholehearted approach taken by the Brac personnel and volunteers, who contributed to the overall success of the exercise.”

Playing the part of victims and hostages were Brac CIAA Security Officers Jan Svendsen and Lorenzo Fredricks; Customs Officer Dustin Bodden, the thugs played by Cadet Corps’ Ricardo Henry and the “shooter” Wilson Bennett.

The participants also included Red Cross volunteers Anita Judister, Venice Campbell, Patricia Brown, Amaya Tahal, Hermine Jackson, Cadets Aliyah Williams, John Gayle, Naomi Carter, Chirston Ferguson, teachers Dee Blackman and Lori-Ann Bingham and observers including Joshua Burke of Brac Air Traffic Control.

Effectively functioning as make-up artists, painting the gore and affixing the fake wounds on the “victims” were Brac CIAA Security Officers Della Dilbert and Violet Walton.