By Steve Mather and Jonathan Holmes

BBC News

Emergency services have taken part in a training exercise to practice how they would respond to a plane crash.

Fire crews, ambulance workers and police officers were all involved in the exercise at Cotswold Airport.

Avon Fire and Rescue manager Paul Incledon said it was an “exciting and unique” opportunity to test out their reaction to a major incident.

“I don’t think anyone else in the country has been able to do it before on this scale,” he added.

Firefighters from across the county travelled to the airport near Kemble for the exercise, which involved decommissioned jets and actors playing the roles of casualties.

In the 36-hour training exercise they were asked to respond to a scenario in which a plane coming in to land had come off the runway and collided with a number of aircraft and a minibus.

“Normally the urban search and rescue teams do collapsed structures so this is a really unique opportunity,” said Mr Incledon.

“We always train hard to deal with major incidents and hope that they don’t happen.”

Students from the University of the West of England and actors from the group Amputees in Action played the roles of injured passengers.

Dan Richardson, of Amputees in Action, said his role gave him a good insight into how much planning and training goes into the exercises.

He said: “You realise how many factors have to be considered and the balance between different priorities.

“It also makes you realise how tenuous safety is in real life because there are so many things that could potentially go wrong in one moment with potentially nasty consequences.”

The aircraft used in the scenario belong to Air Salvage International, based at the airport, which strips the jets of their parts before they are scrapped.