An investigation is continuing into an incident on Tuesday in which the new Air Corps air ambulance was forced to perform an emergency landing near Borrisoleigh, Co Tipperary.
The helicopter performed a ‘heavy landing’ after colliding with power lines while en route to transfer a patient to hospital. The trip was its 12th mission since launching in Athlone earlier this month.
Neither of the two Air Corps personnel nor the paramedic on board were injured in the incident. The full extent of the damage to the Air Corps EC-135 has not yet been determined. The helicopter was removed to Baldonnell, and an investigation is being carried out by the Air Accident Investigation Unit of the Department of Transport.
Responding to Deputy Denis Naughten in the Dáil on Wednesday, Minister for Defence Alan Shatter said the Air Corps are examining the likelihood of resuming the EAS service as soon as possible using an AW 139 aircraft out of Baldonnel.
“At this stage it is not possible to say when the service will resume from Custume Barracks, Athlone. Following a preliminary investigation by the Air Accident Investigation Unit, this matter will receive further consideration,” he said.
“The Air Accident Investigation Unit in the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport was informed of the incident immediately and the unit was in attendance at the site. The Air Accident Investigation Unit will carry out an investigation into the incident.”
The incident occurred at approximately 2.10pm on Tuesday, just 20 minutes after the air ambulance left Custume Barracks for an emergency call-out in County Tipperary. After colliding with power lines, the helicopter was forced to perform what the Minister described as a “heavy landing” near Borrisoleigh.
The patient who was the subject of the call-out was transferred to hospital in Limerick by road, arriving there at 2.50pm.
The pilot Emergency Aeromedical Service (EAS ) commenced operations from Athlone’s Custume Barracks on June 4. To date, 11 aeromedical missions have been undertaken by the aircraft.