CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) - If you were near the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport on Wednesday, you may have noticed a lot of police activity because of a drill.
Representatives of 11 local, state, and federal agencies converged on a cargo area of the airport where, as the drill had it, a domestic terrorist organization headquartered in the southern tier took over a FedEx aircraft and took hostages. The group tells hostage negotiators they may have placed an explosive device aboard the aircraft and they may use a portable surface to air missile to destroy an incoming aircraft. It is very frightening scenario, but there is a lot for authorities to learn from this type of drill.
NFTA Police Chief George Gast said, "Where do you have weak spots in your crisis management plan? What do you need more training on? One of the biggest problems we have in exercises like this is communications. You've got different agencies here on different radio frequencies. They're not people who work together all the time so that's a big part of it. It's how you get that communication flowing between the different agencies. You've got to work on it now during a training scenario, so that if it happens for real, it goes smoother."
There were about 100 people joining in this exercise Wednesday. Chief Gast says the challenge is to compress a scenario that may play out over three or four days into just six or seven hours, but there is a lot of valuable information to be gained from a drill like this.
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