There was blood on the tarmac Saturday morning.
Battered bodies littered the ground outside a jet at Kennedy Airport’s Terminal 8. Dozens of battered survivors climbed down a makeshift ladder, trying to get as far away from the fuel truck that moments before crashed into the plane’s side.
The gruesome scene was fabricated for a drill, a potential disaster no one wants to ever see but could easily happen.
And that is why they train.
Multiple agencies participated in the Port Authority’s disaster simulation, a large scale “mutual aid” drill conducted at a Port Authority airport every three years.
First responders scrambled around the burning plane, providing aid to passengers and dousing the blaze with water and a special foam since jet fuel burns hotter than a regular fire.
More than 150 volunteers, their faces and bodies smeared with fake blood, played the role of wounded airline commuters as 250 real-life emergency responders from the Port Authority, FBI, TSA, State Police, Red Cross, National Guard, FDNY and NYPD converged on the scene.
First responders also set up a makeshift command post so all the agencies can better coordinate with each other — one of the main reasons why the drills are held, according to Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye.
Smaller drills happen every three months.
Communication is key as more law enforcement agents, particularly State Police, have flooded area airports — sometimes butting heads with Port Authority police, according to sources.
“Increasing the police presence at a place like LaGuardia or JFK, with the Port Authority Police in a lead position and working with the National Guard and State Police, which are assets that Gov. Cuomo has sent to the airport, is a positive thing,” Foye said Saturday at the drill. “Members of the public traveling through these places feel the same way.”
Most of the drill volunteers were Aviation Management students from CUNY’s York College.
“This is information you can’t get in books,” said volunteer Shayan Khan. “I felt like I was in the shoes of an accident victim”
“It’s experiences like these that make aviation the safest way to travel,” he added.