By: Bill Schammert
Just south of the Lincoln Municipal Airport on Wednesday, the scene looked all too real.
A bus and wrecked car represented a fuselage ripped in half as if it had just missed the runway. Hollywood-like make-up covered the bloody faces and limbs of triage patients.
Emergency crews from around the area were training for a real life plane crash.
"These kind of casualty numbers will overwhelm any one department," Chief Robert Ziemer of the Lincoln Airport Police said. "Everyone that would respond in a real event has the chance here to practice their skills."
About a dozen agencies were on scene, from local fire, police and paramedics, to the National Guard and the Red Cross. Nearly 100 men and women took part in the drill.
"We take this extremely serious, it's been in the planning stages for months," Ziemer said.
The closest anything like this has happened to Lincoln would be Sioux City, Iowa in 1989. United Airlines Flight 232 crashed on landing. The final tally: 111 dead, 185 survivors.
"We plan for these, hoping we never have to follow through," Ziemer said.
And the training isn't over. Afterwards, the men and women will debrief, figure out what went wrong, and fix it in case the unthinkable really does happen.