Tempe Aircraft Accident TERF

June 15, 2022 | 8 AM to 3:30 PM

Desert Willow Conference Center
4340 E Cotton Center Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85040

Breakfast will be served from 7:00AM to 8:00AM | A full lunch will be provided.

The purpose of the Targeted Event Readiness Forum (TERF) is to provide an environment for exploring opportunities along the disaster response continuum. The TERF is not a disaster preparedness exercise, but instead a facilitated discussion to foster the sharing of information. However, you will want to reference your disaster plan in advance to be prepared to offer information when asked.


  1. Determine how public information and warning will be activated and provided (tribal/municipal public and business alerts, media management, and Joint Information Coordination)
  2. Determine how operational coordination will be activated and provided (Unified Command, Emergency Operations Center linkages, Multi-Agency Coordination Center activation and processes, radio communications [including frequencies], access and perimeter control, and identify verification)
  3. Determine how mass search and rescue operations will be activated and provided
  4. Determine how public health, healthcare, and EMS services will be activated and provided (alarm room notification of hospitals, surge, decompression, and public health issues)
  5. Determine how mass care services will be activated and provided (Hospital Reception Centers, the Emergency Call Center, Family Reunification Center(s), patient tracking, victim transport, mental health support, and shelters)
  6. Determine how infrastructure systems (structural and roadway [National Transportation Safety Board, the office of the fire marshal, building inspector(s), and more]) and environmental quality will be assessed
  7. Determine how critical transportation will be assessed and managed (airlines, rails, and other mass transit)
  8. Determine how fatality management will be activated and provided
  9. Determine how forensic analysis and attribution of terrorist acts will be conducted (including investigation leadership and linkages among responding organizations)

Scenario to Spur Dialogue

Date: June 15, 2022
Time: Noon start
Location: Phoenix Metropolitan Area, Arizona

Airline: Sonoran Airlines
Flight: 48
Aircraft: Boeing 757-200
Crew: 7


Stand-up paddle boarders, kayakers, pontoons, and six ASU sculling teams are on Tempe Town Lake. Nearby (southern Rio Salado Park area), multiple Developmental Disability service providers from the Valley are hosting a picnic with 50 clients (including non-ambulatory, visually-impaired, and nonverbal) and staff. In addition, a large child care center has a picnic with 100 children and supervising adults. Over Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community (SRPMIC), a package distribution company is conducting an unauthorized test of an unmanned aerial system (UAS). SRPMIC Fire Department has just notified Sky Harbor of observation of the UAS presence.

While on approach into Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport from Denver, Sonoran Airlines, Flight 48’s left engine is struck by the UAS. The engine ingested the UAS, causing a catastrophic, uncontained engine failure, damage to the leading edge of the wing, and damage to the aileron.

Upon declaring an emergency, the flight crew attempts to continue the approach into Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Shortly after impact with the UAS, Flight 48’s left engine separates from the wing, spewing wreckage onto the SRPMIC soccer field. On its rapid descent, the aircraft hits the Arizona Public Service 230kV transmission lines to the Ocotillo Power Plant as well as the Salt River Project 230kV and 69kV transmission lines, sending additional debris across Tempe Town Lake, the bridge crossing McClintock Drive, and the southern Rio Salado Park area.

Unable to reach the airport, the aircraft crashes approximately 3 miles east of the airfield, within the city limits of Tempe. The crash impacts the following buildings: Honor Health Medical Group (35 patients and staff), State Farm Insurance (600 employees), Carvana, and Mountainside Fitness.