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Irish Air Corps completes 100th EMS mission of 2013

December 16, 2013

Last night the Air Corps transferred a young patient from Kerry to Casement Aerodrome in their 100th Air Ambulance Mission of 2013.

The patient was transferred from the helipad at Tralee General Hospital in an AgustaWestland AW 139 helicopter and was flown to Dublin, with the flight crew using specialist Night Vision Goggles.

This mission was a significant milestone for the Air Corps, in what has been a busy year for both national and international transfers of patients.

The Air Corps’ unique ability to conduct multiple mission using fixed wing and rotary wing assets meant that there have been several occasions in 2013 when several Air Ambulance missions were completed simultaneously.

The increase in demand for air ambulances in recent years has given rise to the Air Corps maintaining dedicated crews on stand-by 24/7 for fixed wing and rotary wing assets with the ability to cover:

  • Transport of Neonates
  • Inter-hospital transfer of patients with spinal or other serious injury
  • Transport of patients requiring specialised emergency treatment in the UK
  • Transport of Organ retrieval teams in Ireland
  • Transport of patients from the islands where the Coastguard is not available
  • Transport of paediatric patients requiring immediate medical intervention.

For these night time missions the Air Corps’ helicopter crews utilise specialist Night Vision Goggles (NVG) in their air ambulances and are the only pilots in the State with the capability to fly using NVG.

The crew of the Agusta Westland AW139s used these goggles to complete 24 night time transfers of patients in 2013, which included four night air ambulances completed during the Halloween Bank Holiday.

Air Corps crew will remain on standby throughout the Christmas Period in order to provide this invaluable service.

In addition to these inter-hospital transfers the Air Corps are continuing to support the HSE National Ambulance Service (NAS) in the pilot project to provide dedicated aeromedical support to the West of Ireland. The pilot Emergency Aeromedical Service (EAS) operates from Custume Barracks, Athlone.

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