A TERROR attack on an aeroplane was the "doomsday scenario" created in Lancashire this weekend in one of the biggest emergency simulations ever staged in the region.

More than 150 fire officers and dozens of personnel from other emergency services were involved in the 15-hour operation which also involved the scenario that nuclear radiation had been released.

To ensure realism, an 80ft aircraft fuselage had been embedded by crane into a two storey industrial unit at the scene of the operation, Washington Hall Fire Training Centre, near Chorley.

Fire crews from throughout East Lancashire were called to the scene, including a specialist decontamination team from Burnley, one of only two in the county.

Around 40 "casualties", in gory makeup were employed to simulate victims of the incident and played their part to the full as screams could be heard among the staged fires and from within the aircraft.

Other fire services involved in the exercise, codenamed Operation Dakota, were Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man and Sellafield.

The Air Ambulance was also in attendance and another element of the day were two "fatalities", including a crash-test dummy which had been wedged high up in a tree.

One of the exercise directors on the day was Darryl Sturgess, who lives in Darwen and is a member of the urban search and rescue team.

He said: "This a massive challenge for all the services involved and our aim is for it to be as realistic as possible.

"All the teams involved had no prior knowledge that they would be doing this today.

"The circumstances we developed are as close as it could get to a worst case scenario and will help all the services train and prepare for major incidents."

The premise of the day was that terrorists attempted to hijack an aircraft carrying dignitaries and radioactive materials into Warton aerodrome.

Following resistance from passengers the plane crash-landed in Chorley.