The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Simulated Disaster Exercise: Passenger Ship Accident on Lake Geneva

On Tuesday, a large-scale rescue exercise took place on Lake Geneva. A simulated emergency was carried out on the 550-passenger ship "Général-Guisan" of the shipping company CGN. Emergency personnel from France and Switzerland conducted the disaster drill together on the shore of Thonon-les-Bains (F) from 8am to 1pm. 120 extras and around 400 emergency responders were involved in the exercise. Police, fire, medical services, civil defense, rescue societies of Lake Geneva, as well as various public and private actors were requested for the simulated emergency. Bernard Gay, responsible for managing professional risks at the Fire and Rescue Service of the Haute-Savoie Department, told the Keystone-SDA news agency that the scenario simulated an explosion in the engine room, without fire but with considerable damage that caused a water intrusion and necessitated the evacuation of the ship with 96 passengers. The aim of the exercise was to test the equipment and procedures of rescue operations in accidents. According to Gay, the focus was particularly on the speed of intervention and the coordination of the various rescue measures on the water and on land. The exercise was organized by the Prefecture of the Haute-Savoie Department in close collaboration with the cantons of Geneva, Vaud and Valais, as well as the Compagnie Générale de Navigation sur le Lac Léman (CGN). Generally, the exercise was also intended to review the bilateral plan for assistance on Lake Geneva. French and Swiss authorities have recently signed a renewal of the regional agreement.


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