Northern Ireland Air Ambulance has announced the completion of its first mission on 23 July, ahead of its official launch date.
The team was training for its launch, when it received the call that a 11-year-old boy had sustained serious injuries following an accident involving a tractor in the Castlewellan area. The crew decided to take the call, joining a ground ambulance on the scene. It was decided that the boy’s injuries were critical and he was flown to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children by the crew.
Glen O’Rourke, operations leader for the service, told UK news outlet ITV: “We were getting the HEMS service up and ready -we were getting all our equipment and this call sort of took us, not by surprise, but we were ready to go. Whenever the call came in there was no way we could not attend considering we're that a doctor and paramedic team and we could hopefully bring interventions to that young boy at the scene.”
The service was set up in memory of motorsport medic Dr John Hinds in March 2017. Its main base will be near Lisburn, whilst a secondary aircraft will be stationed at St Angelo Airport in Enniskillen.