Zimbabwean gov’t miscommunication causes drill to be reported as a real plane crash

August 5th, 2010 - 5:58 pm ICT by BNO News  

HARARE (BNO NEWS) — Confusion at Zimbabwe’s Civil Aviation Authority on Thursday caused international news agencies to report that a Boeing 767 had been involved in an accident at Harare International Airport.

David Chawota, the General Manager and CEO of the country’s Civil Aviation Authority, initially told BNO News and other international news agencies that a Boeing 767 had been involved in an accident. “There was an accident,” he said. “We will give you more information in a few minutes.”

Chawota said there were injuries involved with the accident and said the flight originated from London.

But, the ‘accident’ turned out to be an annual disaster preparedness exercise held at the airport. “It’s a simulation,” an official at Medical Rescue International in Zimbabwe said. “It’s to test all the agencies.”

The official said Thursday’s exercise simulated a large passenger plane that had run off the end of the runway, crashed and caught fire. “It simulated there were 140 casualties,” he said.

Strangely, Chawota was no longer available for comment after the accident turned out to be a drill.

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