A spokesperson for the Department of Health said that patients should not be affected by the grounding of air ambulances:
– department of health spokesperson
We understand this isa precautionary measure and that contingency plans with other air ambulancesand ambulance services are in place to ensure patients are not affected.
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.
– Association of Air Ambulances
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.
We have confirmed that 16 air ambulance helicopters, operated by Bond Air Services, are covered by the suspension.
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.
The helicopters that have been grounded are all of the EC135 model, which are widely used by emergency services.
The model was used by the following air ambulance services:
- Dorset & Somerset
- East Anglian
- Hampshire & Isle Of Wight
- Midlands Air Ambulance
Bond Air Services says it has temporarily grounded 38 EC135-model helicopters globally after discovering a "defect", Reuters reports.
The Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance has been grounded while emergency checks are carried out. The helicopter, which is leased by Bond Aviation in Gloucestershire, is the same model as the craft which crashed into a Glasgow pub earlier this month. All EC-135's have been grounded.
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.
A company that operates helicopters used by emergency services in the UK has grounded part of its fleet as a precaution after one aircraft experienced an "indication defect".
Bond Air Services operates 22 Eurocopter EC135 helicopters in the UK, all of which are covered by this temporary suspension.
The company confirmed to ITV News that it is "conducting functional tests" on each of its EC135 aircraft after they were grounded yesterday.