PROBLEMS in communication, coordination and the lack of rescue equipment were some of the lapses noticed during the first Sea Crash Rescue Exercise (SeaCrex) 2019 at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) last Friday, Nov. 29, 2019.
The exercise was conducted at the Magellan’s Bay area in Sitio Takan, Barangay Ibo in Lapu-Lapu City, which is located near the MCIA’s runway.
Lawyer Steve Dicdican, MCIA general manager, said this would be a first for an airport in the country to conduct a SeaCrex.
He emphasized the need to conduct SeaCrex in other airports as majority of them are often situated near the sea and sea crashes could happen.
Dicdican also welcomed the lapses found during the SeaCrex as this would help them implement the necessary improvements.
“That is why we called this a simulation, so that we can assess and do better,” Dicdican added.
Michael Lenane, GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC) chief operations advisor, shared Dicdican’s observations.
“That is the purpose of an exercise. You want things to go wrong so you will know what to correct. So then, you will be ready for an event if it happens,” Lenane told reporters.
Dicdican assured that they will conduct similar drills as a way to train their rescuers and also to acquire new equipment to better respond to actual incidents.
Lenane assured that the close cooperation and coordination between GMCAC and MCIA will remain, especially during disastrous events.
They also committed to provide facilities that could be used during emergencies such as a reunion room for crash survivors and their kin, a survivor’s center and a media center.
Before the simulation, members of MCIA’s rescue team underwent a month-long training on sea crash rescue.
The airport’s rescue team is composed of personnel from the local police, firefighters and members of the Philippine Coast Guard.
The training involved swimming over 1.6 miles or 2.5 kilometers of Barangay Ibo’s coast.
The SeaCrex aims to measure the preparedness of airport rescue personnel, local and national government responders and medical personnel in the case of a sea crash incident.
The exercise is also aimed at compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)’s Standards and Recommended Practices. (FVQ/JKV)