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      Local first responders participate in massive disaster drill

      More than a dozen first response organizations from across the state came together Saturday for one of the biggest training exercises to ever hit the Grand Strand.

      First responders from Horry and Georgetown counties took part in several disaster exercises. One included the mock crash of a commercial airliner on approach to Myrtle Beach International Airport.

      "The Guard had the helicopter, the Lacota in the air, which was able to get the ground shots to see the areas people on the ground couldn't see," explained U.S. Army 1st Class Sergeant Joe Cashion.

      At a scene no first responder ever wants to see, they found volunteers acting as victims. Some were already dead, but others were still in need of help.

      Horry County Emergency Management Director Randy Webster explained that the simulated event also improves communication between responding organizations.

      "It allows us to work together, teamwork and working across different communication lines."

      As crews on the ground and in the air worked to save lives, those in charge tracked their progress.

      "I thought the response time went well. I thought once the exercise kicked off, everyone kind of swung into action, they knew what they had to do, they responded quickly to the situation," explained 1st Class Sgt. Cashion.

      Other public safety exercises all part of Saturday's event included drills in Sandy Island and the Wacca-Wache Marina in Georgetown County.