Ogdensburg airport drill to simulate plane crash

Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 3:50 PM EDT
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TOWN OF OSWEGATCHIE, New York (WWNY) - If you see unusual activity at the Ogdensburg International Airport Wednesday night, it’s because emergency crews are conducting a drill.

The drill will simulate an airplane crash that involves more than 30 passengers. More than a dozen county services will be there participating.

The drill is called Operation Magneto and it has to happen every three years.

“It’s required by the FAA. So it’s a real-life full-scale exercise that will require all your emergency personnel to respond, pretty much as to real accidents,” said Charlie Garrelts, airport manager.

Ogdensburg carrier Contour Airlines will provide the plane. The drill scenario is after the plane lands, its wheels collapse, it skids down the runway, catching fire. There are injuries on board.

“Ogdensburg Rescue and a lot of our neighboring rescue squads - Morristown, Lisbon, Hammond - will all be assisting in transporting patients from the airport to Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center. Claxton will also get a chance to test their surge skills,” said Matt Denner, director, St. Lawrence County Emergency Services.

Others will be treated in triage tents or flown out by Fort Drum helicopters.

“The FAA’s mission is the safest airspace in the whole world and we’re trying to make sure that we’re up to that standard and make sure we are providing that even on a smaller scale or on a local scale,” said Garrelts.

Things are set to start at 9 p.m. and could go until midnight.