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Flying Angels face crisis over rocketing fuel costs

PUBLISHED: 01:45 27 September 2008 | UPDATED: 13:39 05 October 2010

Air ambulance helicopter in mercy dash over London

Air ambulance helicopter in mercy dash over London

VICTIMS of major traumas and accidents in London could be the next to suffer from the credit crunch. Rising fuel costs have hit London’s Air Ambulance helicopter, it has emerged. Costs have soared by £55,000 in the past 18 months, says the charity that keeps it flying. Fundraisers are having to scrape together nearly £2 million this year alone to keep the helicopter in the air

Gemma Collins

VICTIMS of major traumas and accidents in London could be the next to suffer from the credit crunch.

Rising fuel costs have hit London’s Air Ambulance helicopter, it has emerged.

Costs have soared by £55,000 in the past 18 months, says the charity that keeps it flying.

Fundraisers are having to scrape together nearly £2 million this year alone to keep the helicopter in the air.

Only half comes from the NHS and from Richard Branson’s Virgin organisation.

The charity still has to raise £850,000 from public donations—£100,000 more than last year.

Air ambulance chief Andrew Cameron revealed: “The cost of fuel has gone up by £1,000 a week, a substantial jump from last year.”

The helicopter, based at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, carried out 1,400 mercy missions last year, on average three flights a day. But each trip this year is now costing £1,500.

The flying medics’ can reach anywhere within London’s M25 orbital motorway in no more than 12 minutes, carrying out life-saving treatment at the scene of an accident which would otherwise be delayed getting an injured patient to a hospital.

They have been involved in major incidents including the Paddington train crash, the Soho bomb and the 7/7 suicide terrorist attacks on the London Underground when they flew 26 missions and helped treat hundreds of casualties.

The charity has its annual golf challenge fundraiser at Foxhills Club in Surrey on Monday (September 29), with tickets from £200 for individual players. It is also opening a new charity shop on Friday.

www.londonsairambulance.com

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