Hampshire’s air ambulance ‘were not affected’ by problem

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HAMPSHIRE’S air ambulance service was not affected by the temporary decision to ground helicopters across the country.

Fears were raised that parts of the UK could be left without air ambulance cover after helicopter operator Bond Air Services grounded all 22 of its Eurocopter EC 135 helicopters over concerns about possible cracks in the rotor blades.

However, late last night the go-ahead was given for flights to resume at 7am today.

The model is used by several air ambulance services across the country.

But chief executive of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance John Perry said the type of aircraft affected by the fault was not being used by his charity at the moment anyway.

He said: ‘We do use EC 135s sometimes, but we are not using them at the moment.

‘The other helicopter we use is the older EC 105, which is not affected by this.’

Bond said it rescinded the grounding order because Eurocopter gave ‘an unequivocal guarantee’ that the EC 135 was safe to fly.