Although the head of Zimbabwe’s Civil Aviation Authority David Chawota confirmed with the BBC: “I can confirm that a 767 plane coming from London has had an accident at Harare airport,” the whole thing was a drill with paid actors.
BBC’s Brian Hungwa reported seeing a large plume of smoke and helicopters over the runway.
Apparently no one but a chosen few were informed it was a drill. Apparently seeing what the media would do was part of the Zimbabwe’s Civil Aviation Authority’s “exercise.”
George’s Point of View
Maybe I’m out of line here, but it seems to me a drill is supposed to test responses in-house.
The fire drill at a school, for example, involves firemen arriving and evaluating the response time of those endangered.
But if someone at the school sets off an alarm to see what would happen, or calls 911…they’re criminally liable. Okay, well maybe they were testing emergency services which for the CAA might be considered in house.
But testing the media? Allowing the news to go out to the media that there was a disaster? As someone who deals with people suffering horrible loss from disasters that are real, this sounds more like a cruel joke than a drill. I wonder what the IATA and ICAO will have to say about this. At the very least, it is unethical.
Chawota said “This was a usual drill for the period. We do this once every three years. This was for the benefit of our police personnel, security, aviation, medics, hospital — everyone was involved. This exercise helps the general preparedness of our facilities here.”