March 8 2014 Latest news:
Adam Gretton, Health correspondent
Thursday, December 12, 2013
The East Anglian Air Ambulance has resumed flying this evening after being grounded for the day after a fault was discovered on an air ambulance in the North West of England.
Bond had grounded its fleet of 22 EC135 helicopters in the UK - the same model of helicopter that crashed on a Glasgow pub - as a precaution while the issue is examined.
The Police Scotland helicopter that crashed into the roof of the Clutha bar in Glasgow on November 29 was a Bond-operated Eurocopter EC135 Type 2 aircraft.
An initial report from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) issued this week said there was “no evidence of major mechanical disruption of either engine” of the Police Scotland helicopter as it returned from an operation in Dalkeith, Midlothian, on the night of the crash.
A statement from Bond Air Services said: “During normal operations yesterday, one of our EC135 fleet has experienced an indication defect that requires further technical investigation.
“Therefore as a precautionary measure we have temporarily suspended service operations whilst we undertake detailed diagnosis. We commenced investigations overnight, are continuing this morning and are in close liaison with Eurocopter regarding this investigation.”
The helicopters are used by air ambulance and police forces throughout the UK. The defect was found in a helicopter used by the North West Air Ambulance service.
A spokesman for the East Anglian Air Ambulance confirmed that their two Bond-operated EC135 helicopters, based in Norwich and Cambridge, had been grounded as a safety precaution.
However, they received confirmation this evening that the fault only related to an individual helicopter and did not affect the fleet.
Chief Supt Ian Whitehouse, of the National Police Air Service, which operates Norfolk and Suffolk’s police helicopter said they decided not to ground their aircraft because the Civil Aviation Authority had not issued an order to suspend flights. However, in light of the technical issue identified by Bond, they had increased fuel levels on the EC135 aircraft as a precautionary measure.