In a mock drill Tuesday, 50 passengers aboard a commercial flight are being held hostage by terrorists who commandeered the airliner, forcing it to land on the tarmac at Myrtle Beach International Airport, Horry County spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier said.
Early on, four volunteer hostages were "killed" and about 14 passengers were able to escape unharmed, she said.
Officials participating in the exercise negotiated with the terrorists for several hours, and an unknown chemical agent was released on the plane.
Bourcier said the full-scale drill is required by the Federal Aviation Administration every three years as a way for authorities to evaluate the response of local law enforcement and fire rescue personnel to a threat involving weapons of mass destruction and terrorists.
It also tests the new Incident Command Structure, a federal guideline that County Council members adopted earlier this year, Bourcier said.
Participants in the six-hour drill Tuesday included the county Department of Airports, State Law Enforcement Division, Salvation Army, Red Cross, S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, the state Air National Guard, at least two area hospitals and members of the public and law enforcement officials from Myrtle Beach and Horry County.
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