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Last Updated: Friday, 18 May 2007, 10:58 GMT 11:58 UK
UK's 'biggest' emergency exercise
Emergency exercise
All the emergency services will be involved in the simulated disaster
The UK's "biggest ever" emergency exercise will take on Sunday when a mock plane crash takes place near Belfast.

Police, fire and ambulance crews will be tested as part of the simulated disaster involving 1,200 people.

Three airports, five hospitals and role-playing student nurses will also take part in the drill.

Fire Service group commander Peter O'Reilly said the exercise was "the biggest ever undertaken in the UK".

"It's everything associated with a crash landing - the fire itself and evacuating people trapped on the plane," he added.

The simulation, which has been 18 months in the planning, centres on a flight carrying 100 passengers leaving George Best Belfast City Airport, bound for City of Derry Airport.

But soon after take-off a catastrophic failure on board forces the plane to divert to Belfast International, where it will make a crash landing. As well as a high number of fatalities, there will be seriously injured casualties.

Up to 150 international observers will assess how the authorities cope under pressure.

The hospitals involved in the plan are Antrim Area, The Mater, Belfast City, The Royal Victoria and the Royal Victoria Hospital for Sick Children.

About 200 trainee nurses from the University of Ulster have volunteered to take part as the injured or their friends and relatives.

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