A cruise ship sinks in Otago Harbour. What do you do?
Search and rescue co-ordinator Senior Sergeant Brian Benn, of
Dunedin, said the response of emergency services were tested
yesterday with ''mass casualties'' of cruise ship passengers
after a mock disaster in the Otago Harbour.
The drill was designed to ''overwhelm'' emergency staff and
to discover the best ways to utilise the available resources,
Snr Sgt Benn was impressed with the problem solving skills of
emergency staff at the ''coal face''.
The mock water rescue had been planned for Otago Peninsula at
Taiaroa Head but strong winds had contained the exercise to
The exercise involved 75 volunteers as ''live casualties''
and Wild Earth Adventures raft guides to float in the
harbour, awaiting rescue.
And 45 bobbing soccer balls in the harbour represented
deceased passengers to be taken to a temporary morgue at Back
Beach, Port Chalmers, Snr Sgt Benn said.
Forsyth Barr Stadium was a ''welfare centre'' for the live
casualties to have their injuries accessed.
Some of the live casualties were volunteers from the Green
Island Lions, the Sea Scouts and the Sea Cadets and were
given a soccer ball as thanks for their time, he said.
New Zealand Search and Rescue training co-ordinator Phil
Burgess said emergency staff would be debriefed on the
exercise to pinpoint areas for improvement in a disaster.