Safety fears ground two air am­bu­lances

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Uk&world Update - By ADAM UREN adam.uren@pe­ter­bor­oughto­day.co.uk @ETADAMU

TWO he­li­copters pro­vid­ing ur­gent med­i­cal trans­porta­tion to se­ri­ously in­jured peo­ple in Cam­bridgeshire have been grounded over safety fears.

The East Anglian Air Am­bu­lance (EAAA) was yes­ter­day in­formed its two Euro­copter EC135S would have to be grounded tem­po­rar­ily as a pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sure af­ter a de­fect was dis­cov­ered in three sim­i­lar air­craft.

All EC135S op­er­ated by Bond Air Ser­vices na­tion­ally - which in­cludes a large part of the coun­try’s air am­bu­lance fleet such as those in Scot­land, the North West and the Mid­lands - are in­cluded in the flight ban.

It fol­lows the dis­cov­ery of three in­stances of cracks – out of 1,000 air­craft world­wide – de­vel­op­ing in a piece of equip­ment known as the “flange”, which is lo­cated be­low the ro­tor blades.

A state­ment from (EAAA) said: “Although there is no ev­i­dence of this on ei­ther EAAA air­craft, our op­er­a­tor Bond Air Ser­vice has taken the pre­cau­tion to ground its fleet of EC135S pend­ing fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion – a pol­icy that the EAAA en­tirely sup­port for safety rea­sons.

“Lo­cal peo­ple in Bed­ford­shire, Cam­bridgeshire, Nor­folk and Suf­folk re­main cov­ered with emer­gency med­i­cal as­sis­tance by our col­leagues at the Es­sex and Herts Air Am­bu­lance Trust.

“Bond Air Ser­vices is await­ing fur­ther ad­vice from Euro­copter, the man­u­fac­turer of the air­craft, once in­ves­ti­ga­tions to iden­tify the cause of the cracks have been car­ried out.

“Our own crews of spe­cial­ist doc­tor and EEAST crit­i­cal care para­medic are con­tin­u­ing to pro­vide emer­gency cover from our rapid re­sponse ve­hi­cles.”

The county will still have med­i­cal he­li­copter cover from Mag­pas, the emer­gency med­i­cal char­ity which runs a He­limedix team, as well as by the Es­sex and Herts Air Am­bu­lance.

The char­ity cur­rently uses a Bolkow 105 he­li­copter but in the next cou­ple of weeks will be ac­quir­ing an MD 902 chop­per.

Mag­pas spokes­woman An­to­nia Brick­ell said: “We will con­tinue to pro­vide en­hanced med­i­cal care across the county.

“It’s im­por­tant to note that in 99 per cent of cases at­tended by an air am­bu­lance, the pa­tient will be taken by land am­bu­lance as there is more room and it is far eas­ier to carry out crit­i­cal care.

“The im­por­tant thing about the he­li­copter is to trans­port skilled medics to the pa­tient quickly. The he­li­copter is of not as much use if you don’t have the team on it to save a life.”

GROUNDED: One of the Euro­copter EC135S used by the East Anglian Air Am­bu­lance.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.