Rescue helicopter deployed to transfer critically ill patient

The rescue helicopter at the Causeway Hospital.
The rescue helicopter at the Causeway Hospital.

A specialist rescue helicopter was scrambled last night to transfer a critically ill patient from the Causeway Hospital in Coleraine.

The helicopter was deployed from HM Coastguard Caernarfon, North Wales and took the patient to Leicester Hospital in England.

The critically ill patient is taken to the helicopter.

The critically ill patient is taken to the helicopter.

The rescue helicopter was tasked at 9.18pm to East Midlands Airport to collect a specialist medical trauma team and transfer them to the Causeway Hospital, where they arrived at 11.25pm.

While the medical team were preparing the patient for the flight across the Irish Sea, the rescue helicopter then flew to Belfast International Airport (Aldergrove) to fuel.

After landing back at the Causeway Hospital the helicopter waited for the medical team to ready the patient for transfer. It took considerable time to prepare and stabilise the patient for the flight.

Once the patient was fully prepared with life support equipment the medical team, accompanied by surgeons, doctors, paramedics and coastguard team, they transferred the patient from the hospital building to the waiting helicopter.

The patient was loaded through the back of the Sikorsky S-92. The patient would have been connected to the life support equipment on the helicopter swiftly before coastguard teams pulled back and secured the Helipad for takeoff.

At 2.4am the helicopter lifted from the landing site en route back to East Midlands Airport where it is understood the casualty was taken by ambulance to Leicester Hospital.

While returning to East Midlands Airport the helicopter travelled at a height of 2,500ft to avoid unnecessary turbulence at any higher altitude but was given discretion by Air Traffic Control of the height.

“Rescue 936” was cleared through controlled airspace by Aldergrove Radar and was given priority over other aircraft as it was a medical emergency.