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PHOTOS: Mock crash part of multi-agency exercise around Vancouver Island air force base

Air Force Beach was closed to the public May 17 for 19 Wing Comox training scenario

A large-scale, multi-agency emergency training exercise had more than 15 different agencies come together Wednesday (May 17) at a variety of locations in the Comox Valley.

Much of the simulated emergency included a plane crash with aircraft wreckage around Air Force Beach and 19 Wing Comox.

The beach area was closed to the public as the event was co-designed with the Comox Valley Emergency Program. Additionally, 19 Wing Comox, the 19 Wing Fitness Centre and the North Island Hospital Comox Valley also assisted with the exercise.

The 19 Wing Fire Department, Courtenay RCMP, Courtenay Fire Rescue, Comox Fire Rescue, North Island 911, Campbell River Fire Dispatch, Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Station 60, Comox Valley Airport Commission, BC Transit, Comox Valley Hospital, Island Health, Health Emergency Management BC, BC Ambulance Service, St. John Ambulance First Aid, Elevated First Aid and Casualty Simulation and Disaster First Aid Stations helped with the exercise.

Volunteer casualty Jennifer Joseph, a military aviation systems technician who works on the Aurora aircraft, said she was tasked to play a Russian passenger who didn’t speak English and had to be medically treated.

“This is the first time actually doing this, so I’m pretty excited to see how it goes and act and have fun it with.”

Second Lieutenant Harley McCoy - who recently arrived at Comox from Gagetown, N.B. for training - was approached by his captain who inquired if he would be interested in volunteering for the crash simulation.

“I’ve never done anything similar - thankfully not in real life. The best part of it is I just get to sit here and watch how everything works as opposed to being involved in the so-called action.”

Fully covered in stage blood and wounds, McCoy added he was assigned to be the pilot of the fatal simulated crash.

“I swear it wasn’t my fault this plane went down - it was someone else’s,” he noted with a slight laugh.

In addition to the agencies involved, observers from the Regional District of Nanaimo, Powell River Airport, Campbell River Airport, Courtenay Air Park, Union Bay Fire Rescue and Oyster River Fire Rescue also participated in the training scenario.

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Erin Haluschak

About the Author: Erin Haluschak

Erin Haluschak is a journalist with the Comox Valley Record since 2008. She is also the editor of Trio Magazine...
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