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Donate for second helicopter ambulance, says Boris Johnson

£6 million needed for life-saving service to provide 365-day air cover

Mayor Boris Johnson has urged Londoners to give generously to the London Air Ambulance's appeal to fund a second helicopter to provide year-round high-speed cover for casualties in the capital.

The Air Ambulance Service is looking to raise a total of £6 million for the new helicopter. The fund currently stands at £1,612,689.

Having a second helicopter will allow the service to reach an estimated 400 more patients per year by aircraft, a spokesman said.

The Mayor said: “We rightly rally together to rapidly raise millions for disasters in other countries around the world but on this occasion the need is right here on our doorstep.

"I am very proud that London’s air ambulance has such a world-leading reputation for delivering the most cutting-edge advanced trauma care outside of  hospital.

“That has only been possible thanks to the generosity of Londoners to date. Please rally together and support this fantastic campaign.”

The Air Ambulance service has come to the aid of many cyclists involved in road traffic crashes. On December 8 2014, rapid intervention by the Air Ambulance team almost certainly saved the life of Victoria Lebrec after she was hit by a lorry.

She told the Evening Standard: “I think I’m really lucky to be alive.

“A lot of ducks were lined up. If one of those hadn’t been in place, I wouldn’t have made it. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the air ambulance and the surgeons.”

Tom Konig, one of the surgeons who operated on Ms Lebrec, said: “Had she suffered her injuries two years ago, she wouldn’t have made it to hospital, which is a testament to the pre-hospital team that went to her."

But the service has just one helicopter, which means it can only attend one incident at a time, and there is no back-up when the aircraft is being serviced.

Last month the helicopter was out of action for 18 days for its annual service and was grounded for 55 days in 2014. The service had previously been able to rent a relief helicopter of the same type, an MD902 Explorer, to cover a maintenance period.

But an Air Ambulance spokesman told "In 2015 there is currently no appropriately equipped helicopter available to operate under the current multi pilot rules. The intended acquisition of a second helicopter by London’s Air Ambulance will permanently resolve this issue."

To find out more and make a donation, see the London Air Ambulance website.

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