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Marines, local emergency responders train for response to aircraft crash

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(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Antonino Mazzamuto)
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The drill is conducted in partnership with local emergency services departments giving them a rare opportunity to participate in a critical training exercise, while testing and evaluating the procedures utilized by Marine Corps Air Station New River in the event of an actual mishap.

U.S. Marines with various units across Marine Corps Air Station New River partnered with local emergency management to conduct an aviation accident drill at Bladen Lakes Tactical Landing Zone .

Officials said it was an opportunity for the aviation squadrons to provide civilian partners with critical training in the case of an aircraft crash or other mishap.

“It’s important for the local community, those who will actually be there if a mishap happens, to be familiar with the aircraft, understand extraction protocols while also considering hazards when dealing with a downed aircraft,” said Kert Lang, MCAS New River Emergency Manager.

The exercise gave emergency personnel a realistic idea of what to expect in the event of a downed MV-22B Osprey.

“We thank you for this training. We’re going to update our internal protocol for an incident like this,” said Carrie McCullen, education forest supervisor with the North Carolina Forest Service.

In a situation where a crash is outside of the air station, local emergency units will be the first to respond.

“We appreciate [the local community responders] time and the value that [they] provide us. It gives us a peace of mind that [they] will help us if we get in a jam,” said Maj. Zachary Lamar, director of safety and standardization, MAG-26.

The Bladen Lakes Tactical Landing Zone was chosen as the site for the exercise because it is frequently used by squadrons from MCAS New River for training.

The following local agencies took part in the drill:

  • NC Emergency Management Area 5
  • NC State Parks
  • NC Forest Services
  • NC Wildlife Resources Commission
  • Bladen County Emergency Management
  • Elizabethtown Fire Department
  • White Lake Fire Department
  • New Hanover County/Wrightsville Beach Ocean Rescue