Major crash’ in Queenstown just an exercise

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A major ‘crash’ was simulated on Queenstown’s Frankton Road this afternoon.

About 16 personnel from Frankton and Queenstown fire brigades, St John and police took part in the exercise, St John paramedic Chris Marr says.

Had it been real, the simulated crash at 2pm today would have been “an all-page accident”, Marr says – meaning all on-duty staff and some off-duty personnel would have been paged.

In the ‘crash’, a big truck-and-trailer unit heading out of town supposedly lost control near Frankton Marina, taking out a car travelling into town. Another car rear-ended the big rig.

Marr says the annual exercise is set up for medical students on a training programme at Lakes District Hospital.

“The students drive past and find this ‘accident’,” Marr says – the two trainee doctors then called emergency services.

In today’s simulation, the truck driver was uninjured but four people in the two cars suffered serious ‘injuries’.

One rear-seat passenger was supposedly unconscious and critical, one driver had spinal injuries, the other driver had chest injuries – and a pregnant female passenger with a fractured hip lost her ‘baby’.

St John is “very happy” with the way the exercise went, Marr says, adding the two med students did very well.

However, it left passersby fearing the worst, with plenty of calls to Mountain Scene to report what most thought was an unfolding tragedy.

One resident, who thought two people had definitely been killed, texted: “Very tragic, not good to see.”

Marr says last year’s exercise also resulted in about six or seven 111 calls from members of the public worried it was the real thing.