Grounded air ambulances cleared to fly after safety checks

Two air ambulances have been cleared to fly again this morning after being grounded over safety fears.

The East Anglian Air Ambulance, which has its headquarters at Norwich Airport, took the precautionary measure to stop using two Eurocopter 135s while it sought advice from the manufacturer, after a defect was discovered in three similar aircraft.

But, as of 7am this morning, the air ambulances have cleared to fly again in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.

In fact, the EAAA’s helicopters would not have been called out during the time when they were grounded, according to their spokesman.

Magpas Helimedix, based at RAF Wyton, was keen to remind residents that they were still airworthy and would be able to fly to incidents across East Anglia during the day and night.

The Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust provided emergency cover in the region while the helicopters were out of service for 24 hours following reports that three similar Eurocopter helicopters had developed cracks below the rotor blade.

An EAAA spokesman said: “The East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) charity is delighted to announce that Bond have cleared the EC135 helicopters as safe to fly.

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“We are among several air ambulance charities who were affected by the 24 hour grounding. This was an important precaution at the time.”

There were no faults with the rotor hub on either of the East Anglian Air Ambulance helicopters, which were grounded as a precautionary measure.

A Magpas spokesman said: “We would like to make it clear and to reassure local people in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and throughout the East of England, that Magpas continues to deliver our leading lifesaving Helimedix (a highly trained doctor and paramedic) by helicopter, rapid response vehicle and land ambulance to seriously ill or injured patients across the East of England.

“We are delighted to have taken delivery of a new helicopter for our essential service this month. We would also like to highlight that Magpas provides the only charity enhanced medical team available both night and day in the region”.