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COTAG Exercise 2008

On Sunday 7th September 2008 COTAG 4x4 Response held its third annual exercise at its off road training area in northern Aberdeenshire. Exercise 'Fallen Eagle' was based upon the scenario of a light aircraft coming down in fog on a remote hillside while urgently carrying medical supplies and personnel to the Scottish islands. Sadly there has been one aircraft loss annually in Grampian Region over the past three years, so the basic scenario was realistic.

For the purposes of this exercise the 'crash' was deemed to have been a forced landing on rough ground with no life-threatening injuries. The passengers and crew of the aircraft had contacted the Police by mobile telephone to state their condition.

Red Cross vehicle at the start of the exercise. © 2008 Donna McLean.

Although an annual event, the COTAG exercise this year was designed from the outset to be a multi-agency activity. Participating organisations were the WRVS, Skywatch and the Red Cross. Representatives from Grampian Police and RAYNET kindly agreed to attend to observe and provide feedback. RAF Mountain Rescue, including an air asset (helicopter), had been scheduled to attend. Unfortunately several genuine incidents had occurred which prevented this.

In a real incident, if injuries were serious, a RAF Search and Rescue operation would have been initiated, probably co-ordinated from ARCC Kinloss. RAF Mountain Rescue ground personnel would have been despatched to locate and extract the casualties. Obviously for this exercise however the Police had contacted the agencies involved and requested assistance.

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