NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — Mechanical failure, human errors, and acts of terror pose a constant threat to commercial airliners. With three international airports in the New York area, the possibility of a devastating crash is constantly looming.
The bodies of water that surround New York make it more likely that there will be survivors following a catastrophic plane crash, and because of that, Port Authority Police Officers need to be specially trained to respond to a crash.
CBS 2′s Mary Calvi recently joined a team of Port Authority Police divers in the rough water off the shore of John F. Kennedy Airport, where they were training in response to a simulated air disaster.
“The body of water is just stronger than anything you can think of, mentally and physically. The current is overpowering, it’s a big job, they’re preparing for essentially mass casualty situations,” said one instructor.
Trainees dived into the water with winds pulling in every direction and waves tossing them around while crash survivors lie helplessly amid panic and chaos waiting to be rescued during the simulation.
Over and over, divers practiced pulling unconscious passengers out of the water for five hours every day for five days straight.
Trainee Louie Morales described the training as exhausting.
“It’s vigorous training, we’re going home at night really tired, and coming back in the morning really tired and sore,” he said.
Divers need to possess a calm head and total focus, along with incredible physical endurance to execute a real life rescue.
Once the officers complete the course, they will go on to train others, who will prepare for the worst while expecting the best.
Port Authority Police officers are also trained in firefighting, emergency rescue, and other aircraft emergencies.
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