An Air Caraïbes plane requisitioned by the Ministry of Health for a

Thursday, May 19 in Nîmes (Gard) took place the Mistral exercise. Following a simulated attack, a plane from the airline Air Caraïbes was mobilized by the Ministry of Health to evacuate from Nîmes to Paris some of the most seriously “wounded”.

Code name: Mistral. This famous wind which blows in this part of the Rhône valley has gave its name to this second national health exercise. Organized by the highest government health authorities, it mobilized more than 600 professionals, including doctors and emergency physicians from SAMU, SMUR, RAID police officers, gendarmes, staff from the Red Cross, SNSM, civil protection and crisis and disaster management specialists.

Samu exercises Mistral

©Jean-Michel Mazerolle

The operation had begun the previous evening at Orly airport with the boarding of an Airbus A350-900 from the airline Air Caraïbes of 2.5 tonnes of emergency medical equipment and more than 220 health personnel.

Mistral exercise in Nîmes

The Air Caraïbes plane on the tarmac

©Jean-Michel Mazerolle

After landing at the beginning of the night at Nîmes-Garons airport, the personnel proceeded to unload all the on-board equipment with rudimentary means, knowing that the airport infrastructure does not have suitable means for large aircraft such as this. This is the case in Paris international airports. It took more than two hours to unload everything and start deploying an ephemeral health center in one of the airport hangars.

During the night, the “plastrons”, those responsible for simulating the wounded, are made up, before the organizers of this exercise give the green light for the realization of the fake attacks.

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Mistral exercise in Nîmes

Examination of casualties for the Mistral exercise

©Jean-Michel Mazerolle

The progress of operations between all the services and means mobilized is closely monitored to ensure a real chain of care in these times when health and geostrategic crises are linked. Among the participants, several Ultramarines who came to train in crisis management and a well-known overseas airline.

They testify in the report produced by Jean-Michel Mazerolle:

More than 30 hours of exercise in the closest to real conditions with, at the end, a real “Winning Mistral”. The organizers relied heavily on the experience acquired during the summer of 2021 in the Overseas Territories with the establishment of an airlift to France, which saved more than 200 seriously ill patients affected by Covid and who could not have been treated in local hospitals.