Here at DES , we sometimes have divers in need of urgent treatment arrive by helicopter, this is something all our staff are quite familiar with. Sometimes though, we are involved in extraordinary scenarios.
Last week Divers Emergency Service at Whipps Cross Hospital received a request from the MOD to assist in the repatriation of a British serviceman for compassionate reasons.
The father of the serviceman had been admitted to Whipps Cross as an emergency and the MOD chartered an aircraft to fly his son home from his overseas posting as quickly as possible. He landed at Luton and was then flown to Whipps Cross by helicopter, that’s where DES came in.
The hospital itself has no helipad, but DES has a helicopter landing protocol already set up in an area close to Whipps Cross in Epping Forest, this is for use with HM coastguard and HEMS flights. However this was a night landing (3am!) and the aircraft could not land without lights and a marshall so we swung into action and used our protocol which calls on the police to clear the area and provide lights from police cars (which we positioned for a helicopter landing) and we provided the marshaller. The helicopter is an augusta aw109 – the RAF usually use it for VIP transport such as the Queen or PM.
All went well and the lad was at his fathers bedside within 90 minutes of landing in the UK.