| 7.9°C Belfast

Teams to train for Lough Foyle plane crash emergency

Emergency workers in the north west are preparing for the nightmare scenario of a plane crash landing in Lough Foyle.

Planes landing at the City of Derry Airport make their descent over the lough and the unlikely possibility of a ditching will be tested to the full by all the emergency services tomorrow.

Airport operations manager Julian Benbow said: “Training exercises like this one are extremely important because, while we do prepare for all kinds of emergency, it is not always in this obvious type of way.

“The wider general public will most likely not even be aware of it, but we will make it as realistic as possible.

“Along with all the response vehicles and staff there will also be people playing concerned family members and passengers.

“These exercises give us all the drama without the crisis so their importance cannot be underestimated.

Mr Benbow said the simulation will cover everything from the emergency landing on the water right through to the rescue of passengers and response from all emergency services.

The Fire Service, Western Trust, Red Cross and the University of Ulster's school of nursing will all be involved. “We would like to thank the public in advance of this exercise for their co-operation, with disruption to the public being kept to a minimum,” he said.

The public is being made aware that response vehicles may be travelling to and from the airport during the exercise.

Emergency cover from the Fire and Rescue service will not be affected during this time.


The most famous case of a passenger plane ditching in water happened in New York in 2009 in an incident dubbed ‘The Miracle on the Hudson’. An Airbus struck a flock of geese just after take-off from LaGuardia airport and was forced to ditch in the Hudson in midtown Manhattan.

The pilot in command was 57-year-old Captain Chesley B ‘Sully’ Sullenberger, a former fighter pilot who was hailed a hero for saving every life on board.

Belfast Telegraph