Wiltshire Air Ambulance (WAA), a UK HEMS charity, has had its helicopter cleared for flight after tests conducted on the aircraft confirmed that it had not been contaminated with deadly nerve agent Novichok.
Though the aircraft did not come into direct contact with a Wiltshire couple who were poisoned by the nerve agent, it did carry two paramedics who had treated the couple. The helicopter was grounded on 1 August, and it and the WAA base were thoroughly tested in case of contamination.
WAA Chief Executive David Philpott commented: “We are of course delighted with this news. I would like to thank colleagues at Wiltshire Council, Wiltshire Police, South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust and DSTL for the swift and professional way they have all worked with us during this challenging period.”
Philpott added that it is too early to tell whether the two-week closure has had any effect on the charity’s fundraising, ‘but I know how much the people of Wiltshire value our life-saving service so know we can count on them to keep us flying’.
Wiltshire’s Deputy Chief Constable Paul Mills said: “I would like to once again thank the people of Wiltshire for their patience, support and understanding as we continue to work through our multi-agency response to this major incident.”