Dorset And Somerset Air Ambulance Grounded
6:23pm 8th May 2012
(Updated 6:24pm 8th May 2012)
Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance has been grounded.
Bond Air Services, the company which leases the craft to the Air Ambulance has decided to stop all its EC 135 fleet from flying over safety fears.
At least 18 other helicopters used as Air Ambulances around the country are also grounded.
Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance say they’re not sure how long they’ll be out of action but paramedic staff are now being deployed on the roads.
Wessex FM News has obtained a copy of the statement issued by Bond Air Services:
Bond suspend operations EC135 helicopter fleet on safety grounds
8th May, 2012. Bond Air Services, one of the world’s leading providers of mission critical helicopter operations for emergency and energy support services have suspended operations on the EC 135 fleet.
This morning the company received a Safety Information Notice No.2450-S-62S from Eurocopter, following further reports identifying cracks on the lower hub shaft flange of the EC 135 helicopter. As a precautionary measure Bond Air Services have decided to suspend all EC135 flights.
The company´s first priority is safety and it has reported the decision to suspend flights to the manufacturer on these grounds. Bond Air Services is awaiting further comment from the manufacturer once investigations to identify the cause of the cracks have been carried out.
The Bond Aviation Group is a world leader in search and rescue operations with a thirty-seven year history and upholds stringent safety standards, including the OHSAS 18001 and Safety Management System in our culture and operations.
About Bond Aviation Group
Bond Aviation Group (Bond) is the UK's largest independent emergency and mission critical helicopter operator providing air ambulance helicopter services, police and marine support to offshore wind farms and lighthouses as well as mission critical Oil & Gas crew change and search and rescue services in the North Sea to blue chip oil companies.
With a fleet of over forty-three aircraft and operations accumulating more than 106,000 flight hours across the globe the group benefits from an international presence and a commercially strong and financially stable parent company. Bond currently operates from bases in the UK and Australia, employing 543 people and with a turnover of £137m (annualised) in 2011.