September 26, 2008

Injured ‘Terrorist’ Nabbed

By DUFF, Michelle

The night is deathly quiet, a splashing of rain on the glossy tarmac the only discernible sound.

Then, from the darkness, comes a scream.

"Help meeeeeeee!" screeches a voice. "Help us! We're hurt. . ."

"And bleeding!" chimes in another voice.

Two drenched figures appear from the gloom, waving their arms in the air, stumbling across the airport runway. Behind them a helicopter, downed on the concrete.

They've just escaped the wreckage of the helicopter, after an armed terrorist took control of their flight and forced a landing.

That's what we're meant to believe, anyway.

And that's what Palmerston North Airport chief executive Garry Goodman is telling the Manawatu Standard, huddled in his car on the airport runway.

Once a year, the airport security teams join with police, the Fire Service and St John Ambulance to stage a terrorist attack.

Mr Goodman stops explaining the drill to answer his phone.

It's 6.48pm.

The call is from his airport operations manager; the police armed offenders squad is securing the area.

The screams on the tarmac continue.

"Save us! Help us!" the two crash survivors yell.

"Stop, police!" A voice booms. "Put your hands where we can see them!" The survivors are confronted by armed police, sneaking across the runway. They're moved to safety, and the four armed police sprint to a wall in front of Mr Goodman's car. The crashed helicopter is in sight. "There's still an injured passenger in there, and the terrorist," Mr Goodman whispers.

Next to the wall, the police are planning logistics. Two will go first, one will secure the building behind (which has now caught "fire", with the aid of a smoke machine) and the medic will check the vitals of the passenger.

Spotlights are on the chopper, the medic has found the trapped victim. "Tell me what's wrong with your legs, Dave!" he yells. They've got the terrorist, also injured in the crash.

Cue the fire service, squealing up behind with five trucks, followed by three ambulances and police reinforcements.

The scene is safe, it's time for us to leave - but their work here has just begun.


(c) 2008 Evening Standard; Palmerston North, New Zealand. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.