Bad weather hampers air ambulance visit

A second attempt to show off one of two air ambulances being brought into services was hampered by poor visibility.

With the new helicopter are (from left) paramedic Mark Stroud, pilot Dave Surtees and services manager Steve Munro. Photo: Dave Donaldson
With the new helicopter are (from left) paramedic Mark Stroud, pilot Dave Surtees and services manager Steve Munro. Photo: Dave Donaldson

A planned itinerary was arranged and should have seen a new Airbus H145 tour extensively round parts of the isles, following feedback during consultation with communities.

The event was originally planned for last weekend, but had to be postponed due to low cloud base and foggy conditions.

Today’s weather has provided more of the same.

The aircraft’s visit was at first delayed by the disruption. It visited Fair Isle but was unable to land at Foula, and the planned trip to Mid Yell was put off after the football pitch there became waterlogged.

The helicopter crew later made a return to Sumburgh after they were unable to land at Papa Stour.

General manager of the Scottish Air Ambulance Service, Garry Fraser, said contingency measures would be used in any emergency situation.

“Weather is a key factor in all aviation operations across Scotland and for many years our established contingencies, using coastguard or search and rescue aircraft, have successfully been used to transfer patients who need rapid medical evacuation in poor weather. Such contingency operations will continue when the new H145 aircraft are introduced to operational service.”

The two new Airbus H145s will replace the EC135 helicopters which have been in service since 2006. The ambulance service says the new helicopters are larger and faster with a greater range which reduces the need to stop to refuel on longer missions.

The helicopters will work alongside two King Air 200c fixed wing aircraft.

The H145s will be based in Glasgow and Inverness, while the King Airs will operate from Glasgow and Aberdeen.


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