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Langley gets normal Air Ambulance service

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Air Ambulance service is back to normal in Langley and the rest of the Lower Mainland after a ruling by Transport Canada.

Helijet International was temporarily barred from flying its Air Ambulances to Surrey Memorial or Royal Columbian in New Westminster.

That directly impacted Langley residents who required emergency airlift, as most of them were taken to Royal Columbian.

Transport Canada has approved a new flight manual supplement for the Sikorsky S76C+ helicopters used as air ambulances in the Lower Mainland.

Last spring, Transport Canada raised concerns about all the Sikorsky aircraft used and whether they could land safely under current regulations at helipads in dense urban areas.

A temporary exemption allowed flights to continue until Aug. 10, when more issues were raised.

Service was resumed on Aug. 25 for some hospitals, including day flights to Vancouver General, but all flights to Surrey Memorial and Royal Columbian were still on hold.

Starting on Sept. 3, BC Emergency Health Services began using smaller MD902 helicopters through another contractor, Ascent Helicopters, to resume day flights at Royal Columbian and Surrey.

A new review involving the Sikorskys was held in late November, and as of Dec. 2, normal flights have resumed.

Before this, one option for Langley patients was to fly from the scene of their medical emergency to the airport in Pitt Meadows, then be driven to Royal Columbian.

 

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