Road Traffic Accident in Gornji Jasoc
2Lt. Agustín López
First published in
SFOR Informer#157, February 6, 2003
Jan. 20, Multinational Brigade Southeast (MNB-SE) performed
a Red Wheels exercise in the region of Mostar. This training
sought to display and gauge emergency procedures in a crisis
situation. Several units from the different MNB-SE nations
were involved in dealing with the aftermath of a simulated
Gornji Jasoc - Due to the fact that this type of crisis situations
is unexpected, every unit must be prepared to face any eventuality.
That is the reason no one (except of course the planners of
the exercise) knew in advance when and where Red Wheels will
The accident occured in the vicinity of Gorni Jasoc, a small
hamlet located about 30km south of Mostar.The Moroccan contingent
planned a live fire-exercise for one of its platoons. When
this unit, comprised of 13 troops, one Humvee and one truck,
arrived on the range, the truck maneuvered into a parking
place.The bad weather conditions and the poor conditions of
the road caused the truck to slide down into the gully. Most
of the soldiers were injured and and in shock. Nevertheless,
the platoon leader could report to the Brigade Operational
Centre in Europe Base (Mostar) the first details at 13:00.
A watchkeeper authenticated the call and the Spanish French
Battle Group (SPFR BG) was alerted. The place of the simulated
accident was perfectly decorated and the make up of the role
players realised by French Sgt. Christophe Gautier, a specialist
in this domain.
Spanish Maj. José Faura Salvador, G3 'Plans and Exercise'
Chief, organized and checked the activity. "The concept
of this exercise is to carry out a safety exercise, which
will leave an increased proficiency in all the staff of MNB-SE
Headquarters. It will also result in an improved emergency
procedure for our units and assets. Furthermore, we have to
validate CONPLAN (Contingency Plan) Aesculapius, developed
to activate and deploy all the necessary assets of the Brigade.
We have a complete medical evacuation chain for unforeseen
emergency situations with mass casualties. Likewise, this
activity represents an opportunity to train personnel reaction
and co-ordination at all levels by activating MNB-SE emergency
command and control structure," stated Faura.
The entire procedure was conducted under the coordination
of the MNB-SE crisis cell, in liaison with the Advanced Command
Post (ACP). Crisis cell reported to the Chief of Staff, which
decided the activation of Aesculapius CONPLAN.
Spanish Capt. Pedro Hidalgo Moya, Deputy Plans Officer of
the BG, explained: "In this unannounced activity, the
SPFR BG received from the MNB- SE at 13:08 a first warning
about the accident with the location's grid coordinates. Automatically,
according to the pre-established procedures, we activated
a Reconnaissance team and sent it to the accident site in
less than 30 minutes. We prepared the ACP and extra medical
Spanish 1Lt. Benjamín Andrés Pintos, assigned
to the 3rd platoon, Infantry Marine Company (IMC), commanded
the Reconnaissance team. "We collected the necessary
assets for this special unit, gathering different elements.
When we arrived at the crash site at 14:15, everyone performed
his missions. While medical squad ensured the first aid assistance,
Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team made an accurate mines
clearance demarcating a secure area. A Signal squad allowed
the continuous communication with the BG. A squad of the IMC
provided escort to the convoy and secured the accident site,
in order to prohibit the entrance of spectators; they also
marked the helicopter landing site," said Andrés.
Staff Sgt. José Luis Cuevas Pérez, Guardia Civil
Military Police, belonged to the Reconnaissance team. "The
main missions of the Multinational Military Police (MMP) is
to conduct the legal investigation report on the spot, with
the identification of the victims and to regulate in the area
the vehicles' movement and the victims' evacuation,"
The medical intervention
The Spanish helicopter detachment prepared one Cougar helicopter
for a casualty evacuation. While Capt. Adolfo Fernández
Martín, pilot, received instructions and the coordination
measures, the rest of the crew prepared the aircraft. "Our
unit always has one helicopter with its crew ready to provide
support in emergencies The second pilot, Staff Sgt. José
García Solana and the mechanic, Sgt. 1st Class José
María Díaz Sánchez, equipped the helicopter.
The medical advanced team with their specific assets, one
MMP and Master Sgt. Luis Mariano Manzanares Del Rio with a
satellite terminal were ready to board. After a short while,
the helicopter arrived to the crash site at 14:10. I kept
liaison with the Medical Officer to know how many casualties
we would have to transport and if it was necessary to activate
another helicopter," stated Martín.
Spanish Capt. Pablo Montañés Garay was the Medical
Incident Officer. "When my team arrived by helicopter
to the crash site, we saw the tragedy of a truck plenty of
injured people; screams of pain and anguish could be heard
everywhere. We evaluated the situation and took over medical
control. Helped by the advanced aid team, French Capt. Jean-François
Orval, Sgt. Maj. Fabienne Dufour and Sgt. Maj. Fabien Celindano,
the casualties were separated into three categories. One soldier
was deceased, three severely injured and nine slightly wounded.
With these information I advised MNB-SE to activate Aesculapius
CONPLAN," explained Montañés.
Dufour added: "First, we tried to stabilise the severe
victims and prepare them for the evacuation by helicopter
to the designated medical facilities in Europe Base. Evaluators
told us that one of the most wounded soldiers died. We could
only evacuate the other two at 15:00, whilst the slightly
injured were transported by ground ambulance to the Advanced
Medical Post (AMP) at 15:20."
Near the crash site, two tents were pitched; one for the ACP,
commanded by Hidalgo, and the other for the AMP.
"Throughout this simulated situation, we checked if we
were prepared to react immediately and with appropriate procedures
and assets to an accident with several injured people. Testing
coordination between the Operations Centre and the ACP, activating
one ACP and one AMP. As a consequence of the evaluation, the
result was very satisfactory. The road traffic accident was
a really difficult task, but the teams succeeded. The multinational
crisis cell worked efficiently and the involved units could
improve their skills," concluded Faura.
Nations of SFOR: France,
Training and Exercises