Wales Air Ambulance launches new Mid Wales helicopter

The service has completed its collection of new 'cutting-edge' helicopters Credit: ITV News Wales

Wales Air Ambulance is launching a new modern helicopter from its base at Welshpool today. It means the charity's three aircraft across Wales have all now been upgraded.

The service carries out around 2,000 rescue missions every year in total, and prides itself on being able to reach anywhere in Wales within 20 minutes. It costs £6 million per year to run, but receives no direct government funding, relying on donations from the public to keep the helicopters in the air.

There have been calls for the air ambulance service to be paid for in part by the Welsh Government, including from Shadow Health Minister Darren Millar.

Wales Air Ambulance's three helicopters are based in Caernarfon, Welshpool and Swansea. Each crew has one pilot and two advanced life support paramedics, trained in pre-hospital emergency care.

Paramedic Rhodri Thomas says the new aircraft will make a significant difference to the crew's work.

The 'new generation' helicopter, which will operate from Welshpool Airport, replaces a 20-year-old model. £600,000 was collected during a specific fundraising campaign to pay for it.

Helimeds, a new series looking at the work of Wales Air Ambulance helicopter crews, is on ITV1 Wales tonight at 8pm. The paramedics rescue a man who has been injured in a car crash, and staff recall treating a patient who lost his leg in an industrial accident.