Marblehead residents who spot rescue crews on icy Lake Erie this morning shouldn't be alarmed — it's just a test.
A full-scale disaster drill will simulate the crash landing of a commuter plane carrying 50 passengers into ice-covered Lake Erie just north of Marblehead's Coast Guard station.
The exercise will take place from 10 a.m. to about 3 p.m. Numerous airboats, helicopters and shore-based rescue crews will be present.
Dozens of federal, state and local emergency response teams — including the U.S. Coast Guard, Ohio National Guard and the cities of Lakeside, Marblehead and Sandusky — will use the drill to evaluate their response plans and capabilities for a mass-rescue operation.
"Practice is the only way to ensure you have a life-saving skill when you really need it," said Sandy Waggoner-Hovest, president of Resource Solutions Associates, a local firm providing emergency response volunteers to simulate plane crash victims.
Pick up a copy of Sunday's Register for full coverage of this large-scale emergency drill.