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London's Air Ambulance grounded due to volcanic ash

PUBLISHED: 13:21 21 April 2010 | UPDATED: 15:54 05 October 2010

LONDON S Air Ambulance was still grounded this morning because of the volcanic ash, despite flights being given the all-clear. The red helicopter has been forced to stay on its helipad at the top of the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel since Thursda

LONDON'S Air Ambulance was still grounded this morning because of the volcanic ash, despite flights being given the all-clear.

The red helicopter has been forced to stay on its helipad at the top of the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel since Thursday last week following fears the ash from the eruption of the Icelandic volcano could pose a threat to the aircraft's engine.

And it remains grounded despite safety tests showing plane engines could cope in areas of low density ash and airports reopening this morning.

The helicopter is able to fly within the M25 area in 12 minutes and the team of paramedics and a senior trauma doctor normally do around three trips a day.

But hospital bosses insist the Rapid Response Cars are being sent out instead.

And they say the recent creation of the London Trauma Network which includes St George's Hospital in Tooting and King's College Hospital in Denmark Hill as well as the Royal London will help ease additional pressures on the ground.

A hospital spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that London's Air Ambulance is currently grounded as a precautionary measure.

"We are continually assessing the situation and flying will resume once we are satisfied that there is no risk to safety.

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