Jun 23 2011 By Ben Spencer
Clyde Tunnel exercise
THE Clyde Tunnel was filled with a jack-knifed lorry, a chemical spillage and billowing smoke in scenes worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster last weekend.
But the incidents on Saturday night were actually part of an elite training exercise for the emergency services, dubbed Helm's Deep.
Glasgow City Council closed the Clyde Tunnel for several hours on Saturday night into Sunday as teams of firefighters and ambulance crews tackled a series of crash scenarios.
With a simulated vehicle fire filling the tunnel with thick smoke making conditions even more difficult, the crews battled to rescue "casualties".
The aim of the operation was to practise emergency services skills and prepare for similar situations.
George McGrandles, north Glasgow area commander of Strathclyde Fire and Rescue, said: "I am delighted that this major exercise has been such a success.
"I would like to congratulate the emergency workers for the professionalism they have shown and also to thank Glasgow City Council, in particular Marco Bardelli, for giving us the opportunity to use the Clyde Tunnel."
In the simulated disaster, a flatbed truck swerved to avoid a stationary vehicle and collided with the barrier.
As the driver checked his vehicle for damage he was hit by an oncoming car, trapping him underneath and killing the car driver.
The crash caused ammonia-filled chemical drums on the back of the truck to be strewn across the carriageway.
A jack-knifed light goods vehicle then pinned an overturned private car to the side tunnel barrier, trapping the driver and a child inside, while the lorry's trailer caught fire, filling the tunnel with choking smoke.
More than 55 firefighters and senior officers attended the exercise, including crews from Maryhill, Cowcaddens, Knightswood, Yorkhill, Govan and Pollok community fire stations.
At the height of the exercise, eight fire appliances were in use, supported by specialist units.
The Clyde Tunnel is almost 50 years old and is one of Glasgow's main transport arteries, carrying 25 million road users every year.