A MOCK-UP aircrash - complete with actors, flames and the element of surprise - today (Wednesday, August 27) tested RAF personnel and emergency crews in their response to a major incident.

A scenario was created in which two RAF aircraft had crashed and landed on farmland at Gatenby near RAF Leeming, North Yorkshire, and the emergency services set to work dealing with the unfolding disaster.

Squadron Leader Jim Errington said the station has about 1,600 personnel, the majority of whom had been involved in the exercise in some way.

“We started planning in February putting the basics together so that we could get on board all the emergency services,” he said.

“The response from them has been really, really good. We’ve been really pleased with it.

“Up until 10am this morning we didn’t know we would get all the police, fire and ambulance because it just takes one major incident and we don’t have them here.”

RAF Leeming has responsibility for dealing with any air crashes in an area reaching to the Isle of Man in the West, to North of Newcastle and South of York.

RAF personnel were joined by North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, the Yorkshire Ambulance Service, North Yorkshire Police and the Environment Agency, who would have to control potential pollution in such an event.

The RAF’s search and rescue team were also present.

Mark Davies, emergency planner with North Yorkshire Police, said it was important civilian emergency services trained with the military, especially as North Yorkshire is home to so many military bases including Catterick Garrison, RAF Leeming and RAF Linton-on-Ouse.

“We have had flooding in the past where the military have assisted us with situations such as flooding, so we have a good working relationship,” he said.

“Today has been very useful; there’s been a lot of learning to come out of it.”