All three Air Ambulance choppers back in action

All three West Midlands air ambulances have resumed to normal services following their suspension.

All West Midlands air ambulances back in flight following suspension

All three West Midlands air ambulances have resumed to normal services
All three West Midlands air ambulances have resumed to normal services Credit: PA Wire

All three West Midlands air ambulances have resumed to normal services following their suspension.

The West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) ground the three aircraft on Thursday after tests raised concerns over their EC 135 helicopters - the same which crashed into The Clutha bar in Glasgow on 29 November, killing 10 people.

WMAS has confirmed all three helicopters have resumed service "following extensive inspections by engineers from Bond Air Services."

Two Air Ambulance choppers remain grounded

Two of the three helicopters used by the Midlands Air Ambulance remain grounded today as inspections continue.

The entire fleet was grounded by the company which operates its EC-135 craft after a fault was found in another model.

Just one of the three MAA helicopters has been cleared so far
Just one of the three MAA helicopters has been cleared so far Credit: West Midlands Ambulance Service

One of the choppers, based at Tatenhill airbase in Staffordshire, was cleared for flight on Thursday by engineers from Bond Air Services - but the other two, based at Cosford and Strensham, are still being examined.

It is hoped they will return to service tomorrow.

West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman Steve Parry said:

Safety is our highest priority and we will be guided by the operator of the aircraft.

Medical crews that would normally have been flying have been responding on land vehicles as they would if inclement weather had stopped the helicopters operating.

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Air Ambulance returns one helicopter to the skies

One of the three helicopters used by the Midlands Air Ambulance has been cleared to return to normal service this morning.

The fleet was grounded yesterday by operator Bond Air Services after a fault was discovered in one of the models elsewhere in the country.

One of the Midlands Air Ambulance helicopters has been cleared for normal service
One of the Midlands Air Ambulance helicopters has been cleared for normal service Credit: West Midlands Ambulance Service

But, after an inspection by Bond engineers, the chopper based at Tatenhill airbase in Staffordshire will take to the skies again today.

Inspections on the other craft, which are based at Cosford and Strensham, are continuing.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokeswoman said:

Clearly safety is our number one priority and will be guided by the operator of the aircraft.

The crews that would have been flying today have been responding on land vehicles as they would if the weather had stopped the helicopters flying.

Air Ambulance chief: Rescue operations will continue

Bosses at the Midlands Air Ambulance have vowed rescue services will continue - despite being limited to land ambulances.

Speaking after the charity was forced to suspend its air rescue service following a fault with a similar model, chief executive Hanna Sebright said:

The safety of public, our aircrews and patient care will always remain our priority. I can confirm our aviation partner, Bond Air Services, has temporarily suspended our three helicopters.

This is purely a precautionary measure as a result of a defect found by Bond which requires further investigation.

We expect the suspension to be short term and temporary while checks to our three aircraft are completed.

While the investigations are being carried out, our aircrews will continue to provide patient care via our rapid response vehicles, which are located at our RAF Cosford, Strensham and Tatenhill airbases.

We are working closely with Bond Air Services during this time and will inform the public when our helicopter emergency medical service is back online.

– Hanna Sebright, Midlands Air Ambulance chief executive

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National

Air ambulance suspension 'not result of Glasgow crash'

The partial suspension of the UK's air ambulance fleet is due to a discovery of a technical fault discovered on one, the Association of Air Ambulances said.

The grounding is as a result of a technical fault on one air ambulance aircraft with other Eurocopter EC135 in the UK and worldwide remaining operational at this time.

The suspension of operations is not as a result of the incident in Glasgow involving this type of aircraft on the 29th November, for which investigations continue.

Bond Air Services are continuing to investigate the technical fault that has resulted in the temporary suspension of services from the afternoon of the 11th December 2013.

The investigations include functional testing across each of the EC135 aircraft affected to gather more information and will ensure air ambulance operations are regularly updated.

– Association of Air Ambulances

Read: 16 air ambulance helicopters grounded across the UK

National

16 air ambulance helicopters grounded across the UK

by - Deputy Political Editor

We have confirmed that 16 air ambulance helicopters, operated by Bond Air Services, are covered by the suspension.

Read: Helicopter operator ground part of fleet over 'defect'

The 16 air ambulances operate in the following areas:

  • Dorset and Somerset
  • East Anglia
  • Hampshire and Isle of Wight
  • The Midlands
  • The North West (three helicopters suspended)
  • Scotland (two helicopters)
  • Thames Valley and the Chilterns
  • Wales (three helicopters)

Cornwall has an EC135 helicopter, but it is being serviced and a replacement is in operation. Devon has an EC135 but it is not operated by Bond Air Services, so it is still flying.

National

Report: Helicopter firm connected to Glasgow crash

The company that has grounded part of its helicopter fleet is believed to have operated the police helicopter that crashed in Glasgow last month.

According to media reports, Bond Air Services operated the EC135 helicopter on behalf of Police Scotland and employed the pilot who died in the incident.

The company confirmed to ITV News that it has grounded its UK fleet of EC135 aircraft after a "defect" was detected in one of them.

A statement on its website said the firm is "committed by law to ensuring that the proper compensation is paid to all those who have suffered loss" in the incident.