EMERGENCY helicopters used by the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance Trust remain grounded as tests are carried out.
A total 17 air ambulances across the country were suspended from service by the operators, Bond Air Services, yesterday (Thursday) after one of the aircraft developed an indication defect.
The Thames Valley and Chiltern service covers Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire and provides emergency medical care.
Chief Executive Mark McGeown said: “Bond Air Services took the decision following a reported indication defect on one of their EC135 [helicopters] that needed further technical investigation. As a result of that investigation we have been advised that our helicopter cannot be returned to full service at present.”
Neighbouring air ambulance services may be called on and deployed to the region and South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust has provided the air crews with emergency response vehicles, with much of the same medical equipment as the helicopters themselves.
The offshore union, RMT, has demanded a full public inquiry into helicopter safety, both inshore and offshore, to establish whether there is any connection with the recent spate of ditching’s and fatalities in the North Sea and on land.