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Outrage Over Timing Of Logan Airport Drill


BOSTON (CBS) --- The Massachusetts Port Authority conducted a drill Wednesday morning involving smoke and fire on the runway.

Logan drill 2013
A drill on the runway of Logan Airport on September 11, 2013 (WBZ-TV)

The drill involved what appeared to be a plane on fire. Boston Logan Airport tweeted the smoke and fire was part of a drill.

Heavy black smoke could be seen drifting over the airfield.

"It seems rather insensitive and inappropriate to me," said Lynn Ellison from Beverly as she waited for her daughter's flight to touch down.

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Several people also took to Twitter and Boston Logan Airport's Facebook page to complain about the poor timing. (Continued...)

"That is ridiculous. Have some respect. People died 12 years ago on flights originating out of your airport. How dare you," one person wrote.

Another asked why authorities would schedule the drill on a day when travelers are already "on edge."

"As we were landing and pulling into the gate I saw this big huge plume of smoke," said Jeremy Berdman, who was on a flight from New York City to Boston when he saw the drill from his airplane window. "Initially I thought the plane had crashed."

The two jetliners that were hijacked and flown into the World Trade Center's twin towers, took off from Logan Airport on September 11, 2001.

"With the occurrences that happened here on September 11 and the flight that took off from here, I agree, it's probably not the most appropriate thing to do," remarked Rick Jaslowski as he waited for his baggage to arrive from Detroit.

By noon, Massport apologized for the drill on the Logan Airport Facebook page and Twitter feed.

"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. 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."

Gov. Deval Patrick told the State House News Service holding the drill on the anniversary of September 11 was "just dumb."

"It's just dumb. I mean the timing could not be worse," Patrick told reporters.

WBZ-TV's Whitney Burbank contributed to this report.

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