Army practices bomb situation at Mackay Airport
AN ARMY Reserve troop from the 11th Army Brigade uncovered an explosive device hidden under a conveyor at Mackay Airport on Saturday. But there was no cause for alarm.
The device was not real. It simply played a part in the regiment's bomb identification drill undertaken in the conveyor room of the airport, where checked in luggage is inspected and conveyor to waiting aircraft.
Army Reserve member Major Petita Fraser said the exercise was a way to give the Army Reserve engineer squadron real world experience in bomb identification.
"The reason we do this is to prepare our guys to provide support for the armed forces, or the cases we are called out by the civil authorities, to provide support for events such as the Commonwealth Games," she said.
The squadron is also required to practise search techniques for events attended by dignities or political visits, which demand search and safety services.
"Today we are actually practising that the Prime Minister is arriving at the airport and departing," she said.
"We make sure that the airport is safe and that there is nothing here that should not be here."
The group of 48 Army Reserve members travelled from Townsville and Rockhampton to attend the monthly training exercise.
"The team arrived at their units (in Rockhampton and Townsville) on Friday at 6.30 after finishing their week's work," she said.
"We travelled from both locations and met very late last night, and the guys spent some time to conduct some planning to figure out what they were going to do today."
Ms Fraser said being able to provide the group with a realistic training facility was important.
"It is critical for us to be able to access facilities that are realistic and provide the complex nature that reflects the real thing," she said.
"We are really grateful the Mackay Airport have helped us out today and that we got to experience the type of environment we will be working in in real time."
On of the focuses of the training weekend was the regiment's explosion detection dogs.
Trainers and their canine partners had the opportunity to utilise on the job experience.