The Massachusetts Port Authority has issued an apology for staging a drill at Boston’s Logan International Airport on the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
The planes which crashed into the Twin Towers, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, both took off from Logan Airport.
According to CBS Boston, today’s drill involved a plane on fire on the runway, complete with heavy black smoke.
Logan Airport first confirmed the exercise with a Facebook and Twitter post earlier this morning which said: “The fire department will be training this morning. Smoke on the airfield is part of the training.”
The announcement resulted in widespread criticism for the airport. “That is ridiculous,” one person wrote on Facebook. “Have some respect. People died 12 years ago on flights originating out of your airport. How dare you.”
“Utterly insensitive, you should be ashamed of yourselves,” a Facebook user wrote.
“Inappropriate much? How disrespectful of our first responders and downright scary for individuals traveling on this date,” added another Facebook user.
In light of the backlash, the Massachusetts Port Authority issued an apology. "Massport apologizes for conducting the fire training exercise and understands that it may have offended many of those touched by the events of Sept. 11,” the apology reads. “Safety and security is our top priority and constant vigilance and readiness is critical, but the exercise should not have taken place on the anniversary of 9/11. The airport community recognizes the day with moments of silence, a service in the chapel, and a wreath at the 9/11 memorial."
Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick also spoke out against the drill. “I didn’t know it was going to happen, and it’s just dumb,” Patrick said, according to Boston.com. “The timing could not be worse.”
I have to believe that they just didn’t catch this,” Patrick added. “To people who experienced 9/11, many of whom work at Massport, I just feel so sorry.”