Safety checks ordered for air ambulances across England
Tuesday, 10 April 2012 16:34

The-Devon-Air-Ambulance-TrustSafety checks have been ordered on helicopters used by air ambulance services across England after a fault was found.

A crack was discovered on the main rotor hub of a Eurocopter EC135 aircraft in Scotland.

It has prompted a safety warning by the European Aviation Safety Agency (Easa).

Pre-flight checks have been ordered for the aircraft while an investigation is carried out. About 1,000 of the aircraft are in use around the world.

'Safety first'

Easa said: "This condition, if not detected and corrected, could lead to further crack propagation, possibly resulting in main rotor hub failure and consequent loss of the helicopter."

In England, the model is in use in areas including: Thames Valley and Chiltern, North West, Midlands, Hampshire and Isle of Wight; and Dorset and Somerset, according to the Association of Air Ambulances.

A spokesman for North West Air Ambulance said it was notified about the safety directive.

The Devon Air Ambulance Trust, which operates two EC135 helicopters, confirmed it also had received a safety memo, but added that it did not have any issues with its aircraft.

Paula Martin, chief executive of the Cornwall Air Ambulance, which also operates an EC135, said the "isolated incident" was not causing any problems for its helicopter at the moment.

However, she added that "safety absolutely comes first".

She said: "If there were any directives from the manufacturer that the aircraft should be grounded, then that, of course, is what will happen."

(BBC news)

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