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Town unveiling for air ambulance

8 September 09 05:52 GMT

The Wales Air Ambulance service will unveil its latest helicopter by landing it in the centre of Caernarfon later.

The aircraft will be used to cover the whole of north Wales and will take patients to three main hospitals at Wrexham, St Asaph and Bangor.

The new aircraft is roomier and faster than the one it is replacing.

A similar high-tech aircraft, which was designed with the help of air crew paramedics, was unveiled in south Wales in January.

"North Wales is one of our busiest regions and the new aircraft will make a big difference to the work that the paramedics carry out," said Angela Hughes, chief executive of the Wales Air Ambulance.

Speed

"We are delighted that we have been able to rise to the challenge of reaching our £5m target for this year's lease of the EC135 model, thanks to the whole-hearted support across the country."

Chairman Bob Palmer said the charity had come a long way since it started in 2001.

"It has grown from one helicopter in Swansea to a national operation that can reach anywhere in Wales within just 20 minutes," he said.

"Having strived to attain this lease, it is our aim to ensure that this new generation of aircraft continues to fly over north Wales for many years to come," he added.

The new aircraft will be an improvement for both crew and patients according to Ian Binnington, the north airbase paramedic supervisor.

"The aircraft will be smoother and more comfortable for patients, and will give the paramedics more room to work," he said.

"The extra seating will mean a parent can accompany and reassure an injured child, or a hospital medic can attend a hospital transfer.

"The beauty of the helicopter is the speed... we are able to fly at two miles a minute," he added.

The air ambulance will land in Caernarfon Square at 1400 BST.

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