Minibus plunged into river in emergency simulation with 'live casualties' 

More than 100 personnel took part in the training exercise that saw students role play as victims.

More than 100 emergency service personnel simulated a minibus crash into the River Clyde in Glasgow in a major training exercise.

The collective response to an incident in which a bus full of passengers veered off Albert Bridge into the water was tested on Wednesday.

Led by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), the exercise included dozens of emergency responders from Police Scotland, HM Coastguard, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, and the Glasgow Humane Society. 

Minibus in the River Clyde as part of a major emergency services training exerciseSFRS

Students from the University of Glasgow volunteered to role play as live casualties.

Alex Schlindwein, doctor and clinical teaching fellow, was among those who took part.

“[It’s] not often you get a chance to get cut out of a car,” he told STV News.

“More than that, it was just a nice opportunity to see how we come together in all the different public services that we have and how we can work together in a scenario like this.”

Area commander David Murdoch, SFRS’s local senior officer for Glasgow, said: “It’s really important to bring emergency services together for training exercises like this one in Glasgow to test our readiness to respond to serious incidents involving multiple casualties. 

Nursing students from the University of Glasgow School of Medicine, Dentistry, and Nursing volunteered to role play as live casualties during the training simulation.STV News

“By simulating scenarios, like a minibus accident, we can identify areas that worked well or establish where we need to refine our protocols so that we continue to work together to protect communities. 

“Ultimately, we want a well-coordinated response to any emergency to mitigate the impact of the incident.” 

Minibus in the River Clyde as part of a major emergency services training exerciseSFRS

Various challenges included vehicle extrication, rescuing simulated victims from the minibus and performing water rescue operations.

Superintendent Christopher Stewart of Police Scotland’s emergency, event and resilience planning said: “This is one of many pre-planned exercises and was not in response to any specific threat. 

“The public should rightly expect Police Scotland to practice and strengthen our response to a major incident alongside other organisations, and exercises like this allow us to do just that. 

'Live casualties' were sawn out of cars on Albert Bridge during the training simulation in Glasgow.STV News

“We are part of a well-established multi-agency training programme that provides valuable training and learning. 

“It’s important for exercises to be as realistic as possible, and we appreciate the efforts of everyone who participated.”

Steve Muldoon, senior coastal operations officer, said: “It’s important for HM Coastguard to rehearse this kind of hazardous situation alongside fellow emergency services because we frequently attend incidents that require a multi-agency response. 

'Live casualties' were sawn out of cars on Albert Bridge during the training simulation in Glasgow.STV News

“This is an opportunity to test our communications, coordination and shared situational awareness so that, if the worst happens, we can respond together swiftly and effectively. 

“HM Coastguard has a statutory responsibility to co-ordinate incidents at sea and, locally, within the tidal waters of the River Clyde. 

“Taking part for HM Coastguard will be the Coastguard Rescue team from Greenock and Helensburgh and our RNLI partners at Helensburgh lifeboat.“

A Glasgow City Council spokesperson said: “Today’s multiagency training exercise was extremely meaningful. 

“It allowed us the chance to work with our partner agencies to test our protocols so that in the event of an emergency we can co-ordinate the most efficient response.“

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