HARBOUR Flights Ireland seaplane base was used by the Medevac 112 helicopter to airlift a Belgian tourist to the Emergency Department at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Limerick following an equestrian accident last weekend.
The Belgium man had been horse riding in Whitegate and as a result of injuries he sustained, the Medevac 112 helicopter based in Athlone was called to transport the casualty to Limerick and this was facilitated from the seaplane base in Mountshannon.
This is the first time the seaplane base has been used for an emergency situation and arising from the request, Harbour Flights Ireland operations manager Stewart Curtis confirmed an emergency protocol is now in place from the Mountshannon base.
Permission was given by the sea plane operators for the helicopter to land on the airfield and the casualty was transferred by ambulance to the base and transported from there.
“We see it as a very positive service for the area. If there’s a heart attack or a bad accident, at least it shortens the transport period. Following the incident on Sunday we have put a procedure in place as of Monday morning and we have given keys and access to the air corps Medevac helicopter to our facility. It’s good to see the base is being used in this way and it shortens the transfer period. It takes between 15 to 20 minutes for the helicopter to get to Mountshannon from Athlone and another seven to 10 minutes to the Mid-West Regional Hospital in Limerick,” Mr Curtis explained.
The same trip by ambulance is estimated to take approximately 45 minutes or more.
The use of the facility in the case of emergencies has been met very positively by the airfield operators who said they are happy that it will not only assist the community from a tourism perspective but from a social perspective also.