Air ambulance grounded after fault found

The Thames Valley and Chiltern air ambulance
The Thames Valley and Chiltern air ambulance

Air ambulance services in the Thames Valley and Chiltern area have been suspended after a defect was found.

The air ambulances, the same model which recently crashed in Glasgow, were grounded yesterday but while a number around the UK have now been cleared to fly, investigations are continuing on the Thames Valley and Chiltern EC-135 helicopter.

The service said it is hoped the air ambulance can be flying again from Sunday (December 15).

Mark McGeown, chief executive of Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance, said: “Bond Air Services took the decision following a reported indication defect on one of their EC 135s that needed further technical investigation.

“As a result of that investigation we have been advised that our helicopter cannot be returned to full service at present.

“Bond Air Services are working with Eurocopter to rectify the defect and return our aircraft to full service at the earliest opportunity.

“We fully believe that the safety of patients and air ambulance staff is the number one priority.”

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance will provide support to Bucks, Berkshire and Oxfordshire until the service is restored.

Medical crews who normally operate on the Thames Valley and Chiltern helicopter will respond to calls in an emergency vehicle provided by South Central Ambulance Service.

The aircraft were originally grounded yesterday because of an issue with the fuel indication system.