Aviation exercise mistaken for reality in Lusaka

According to the Times of Zambia an emergency response exercise caused panic in Lusaka on 30 December 2009 when it was mistaken for a real aircraft crash.

The media report says: “Business in most parts of Lusaka yesterday temporarily came to a virtual standstill after a commercial airliner had crashed at the Lusaka International Airport….The route to the international airport, about 20 kilometres from the city centre, was clogged with traffic as curious onlookers watched in awe as emergency vehicles, including police cars and ambulances, hurtled to and fro with sirens blaring apparently transporting the injured and dead to the University Teaching Hospital (UTH).”

“The plane crash was assumed to have occurred at the Airport/Great East Road roundabout and caused unsuspecting residents, who were visibly shocked and gripped with fear, believe they would find grotesque scenes of mutilated bodies strewn all over…. According to eyewitnesses, some human “bodies” were found hanging in trees and around nearby bushes with tattered and soiled clothing which looked like blood as emergency workers retrieved them, fastened them on stretchers and loaded them onto waiting ambulances to the UTH and the Airport clinic…. Telephone lines at the Times of Zambia offices in Lusaka were jammed with calls from members of the public who tipped reporters about the crash as some emotional callers immediately piled blame on the Government for keeping old and obsolete equipment at the international airport.”

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