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Air Ambulance turns 10

Created on 20/02/2011 @ 06:37
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The Wales Air Ambulance will celebrate its 10th anniversary next week.

The charity, which operates three helicopters across the country, has carried out nearly 14,000 missions.
From humble beginnings, the charity now has three bases at Caernarfon, Welshpool and Swansea and the operation can have a helicopter anywhere within Wales in 20 minutes.
Chief executive Angela Hughes said: 'This really is an extraordinary achievement for Wales Air Ambulance.  We were the last region in Europe to have air ambulance cover, but it has since grown to be one of the busiest operations.
'None of this could have been achieved without whole-hearted support from the public.'
The charity started flying on St David’s Day 2001, growing from a one-helicopter service based in Swansea using the Bo105 to operating three helicopters today - two EC135s and a single Bo105. The charity's first mission in 2001 was to treat and airlift a rugby player with neck injuries in Glyn-Neath.
The charity flew its 10,000th mission in 2009 responding to an emergency call near Welshpool, after a 92 year-old pedestrian was hit by a car at 60mph.
The charity says the cost of sustaining the three helicopters currently stands at more than £5 million each year, equating £15,000 per day, with each mission costing around £1,200 to operate.
All three of the charity's helicopters will make an appearance at the birthday celebrations taking place at Margam Park near Neath on Tuesday, March 1. Wales will still have coverage, however, as Bond Air Services is providing free replacement cover for the temporary period that all three aircraft are stationed at Margam Park.
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