NAS Oceana holds aircraft mishap drill

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – The Navy held a major disaster drill Tuesday at NAS Oceana in Virginia Beach.

Sailors responded as if a plane had actually crashed on base, and so did local fire departments and paramedics from Sentara.

“Today we have a helicopter that was refueling, it caught fire, the fire spread, created a mass casualty event. We have upwards of a hundred different patients, we have two air ambulances to take folks to local hospitals,” said Captain Kit Chope, XO NAS Oceana.

The injured were Navy personnel and volunteers, wearing tags that detailed what injuries they had to pretend to have.

“In this type of situation, we would be providing a supporting role, anything that they would need to assist with this,” said Erin Sutton, Virginia Beach Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator. Their resources, as many as they have, would still be taxed with an incident like this. This is simulating the air show — a hundred thousand people — they would need help with our ambulances, our personnel. So we are back-filling and supporting their operations.”

Officials say this is how they prepare for the worst and know each other’s part in a real emergency.

“It’s a great time for us to cross train with each other so we understand the tools and techniques the military would use versus the civilian world. So, this is really important. We do this annually and train up on our tools and procedures so we know how each other works in an emergency like this,” said Erin Sutton, Virginia Beach Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator.

Tuesday’s drill is routine training before next month’s air show at the base. The goal is to sharpen response skills, in case the real thing happens.

“It’s critical, and I think you can look back two and a half years ago, nearly to the sixth of April, and see what this partnership has created within the city and within the Navy here … this is critical training for us,” Chope said.

The NAS Oceana Airshow is September 20 and 21. 10 On Your Side is a proud sponsor of the event, and we’re excited to welcome back the Blue Angels this year. Stay with WAVY.com and WAVY News 10 on the air for more details as the event gets closer.

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