The Kentucky Board of Medical Examiners

2008 Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky Disaster Drill

On Friday, September 5, 2008 the Kentucky Coroners/Medical Examiners Incident Response Team (Mass Fatality Team) participated in a full-scale disaster drill at the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport. The drill simulated a worst-case scenario involving two passenger airliners that collided on a runway, causing (1) fire aboard the aircraft, and (2) approximately 120 injured and fatally wounded victims. Numerous emergency services from across the regions, and hundreds of trained personnel, participated in the exercise.

30 members of the TEAM, some traveling from as far as Western Kentucky and Southeast Kentucky, participated in the event. Many of the team members are veterans of the recovery and morgue operations for the 49 victims of Comair Flight 5191 in Lexington, KY. on August 27, 2006. A few members responded to this same airport on June 2, 1983 when Air Canada Flight 797 erupted in flames after touchdown, killing 23 passengers.

The Mass Fatality Team is composed of specially trained county coroners from across Kentucky, in partnership with specialists in forensic anthropology, pathology, dentistry, and other professionals from the Kentucky State Medical Examiner's Office. The TEAM is composed of three sections- (1) Scene Recovery, (2) Morgue Operations, and (3) Victim Identification. These members donate their time and pay their own expenses to provide the Commonwealth of Kentucky with the capability to manage a mass fatality incident.

The drill simulated two aircraft colliding at the
intersection of a taxiway and a main runway.

Part of the initial response to the accident site.

Victims were treated at a triage site on the adjoining runway.

Several responding units waiting at a nearby staging area until needed.

A tractor-trailer filled with emergency equipment and supplies sets up near the triage areas.

Part of the triage area for the victims. This area treated the most seriously injured patients.

Once the rescue and fire suppression efforts were concluded at the crash site, The Incident Response Team arrived at the scene. Shown here is one of the team's incident command posts.

Part of the Scene Recovery section view the crash site.

Rowan County Coroner John Northcutt checks out the tractor-trailer filled with supplies and equipment.

A critique session was conducted afterwards to review the drill and determine any improvements that might be made in managing a mass fatality event at the airport.  

                                           (All photos courtesy of David Jones)


Last Updated 10/1/2008