Air ambulance grounded

The Air Ambulance helicopter which transports patients from the islands in emergencies has been grounded due to safety concerns.

Bond Air Services who operate a fleet of EC135 helicopters across the UK, announced that as a precaution they were taking this action which involves the aircraft operating out of Inverness and Glasgow.

A spokesman for the Scottish Ambulance Service said: “Bond Air Services advised on Monday (7th May) afternoon that as a precautionary measure, it was suspending flights on its fleet of Eurocopter EC135 helicopters, including Scotland’s two air ambulance helicopters. The company has taken the decision as a safety measure following receipt of a Safety Information Notice from Eurocopter which was followed by further reports identifying cracks on the lower hub shaft flange on the EC135.

“The Scottish Ambulance Service is operating contingency measures whereby any patient that requires transfer by air will be taken by Coastguard and military helicopters, or SAS fixed wing aircraft. Bond is awaiting further advice from Eurocopter once investigations to identify the cause of the cracks have been carried out.

“There are no faults with the rotor hub on either of the two air ambulance helicopters in Scotland.”