The Airport Security Service (SSA) simulated this evening a plane crashing into the lake off Port-Choiseul (in Versoix commune, GE) in order to exercise its emergency plan and put into practice its collaboration with its partners.
"On Tuesday, 13 September 2011, shortly after 19:00, a massive rescue operation was launched after the airport services were notified that an aircraft had crashed into the lake off Port-Choiseul, in Versoix commune (GE). The alarm was relayed Immediately to the partners and centres concerned and response equipment was sent to the site. A few minutes later, search and rescue operations began. The services mobilized included the Airport Security Service (SSA), the City of Geneva Fire and Assistance Service (SIS), the Versoix Fire Brigade (SPV Versoix), the Cantonal Health Brigade (BSC), the Geneva Cantonal Police Force, the Shipping Police force (PolNav) and the International Rescue Society of the Lake of Geneva (SISL)."
The rescue operations were commissioned as part of an exercise simulating the crash, into the lake, of an aircraft on the approach to Genève Aéroport. The operation was named "Sully" in honour of Captain Chesley Sullenberger, who had to make an emergency landing on the Hudson River, on 15 January 2009, after the Airbus 320 he was flying collided with a flight of Canada geese.
Pursuant to the provisions of Annex 14 of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) on emergency plans, Genève Aéroport is in fact required to test its emergency plan by conducting an application exercise every two years.
For the purposes of the exercise, the vessel the "Star of Geneva" simulated the floating cabin of the plane. Two airlines provided extras to play the passengers and crew. A helicopter was hired, as were boats. The stranded passengers were rescued in the lake, brought back to the shore, supported and cared for.
The exercise was due to end in the evening.
The actions of the various entities were audited throughout the operation and will be the subject of expert analysis.