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Casualty helicopter crash

SPOILER ALERT! If you’re a big fan of TV medical dramas you might want to return to this article after Casualty’s 30th anniversary programme is screened on Saturday night.

We’ve issued a list of safety tips for the public to coincide with the popular BBC programme featuring an air ambulance crash.

The BBC One drama is marking its 30th anniversary with a feature length episode to be screened on Saturday at 8pm. It features a major accident which involves an air ambulance. A drone strikes the tail rotor of the helicopter which then crashes into the hospital.

The local air ambulance, which covers Warwickshire & Northamptonshire and Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland, said drones were a potential issue for air ambulances – and indeed any aircraft – if people ignored the rules.

Our air ambulances fly out of Coventry Airport and East Midlands Airport.

We have not experienced incidents involving drones but we are reminding people that they must fly drones safely and legally at all times.

There have been some incidents nationally where drones have been flown close to airports.

Drones must always be kept away from aircraft, helicopters, airports and airfields. The Civil Aviation Authority has something called ‘The Dronecode’ which must be followed.

Air ambulance Head of Operations Phil Bridle said another common issue surrounding safety related to laser pens being shone at aircraft at night.

‘’If these are aimed at the air ambulances or any other aircraft it can temporarily blind the pilot and could, of course, have terrible consequences.’’

He added: ‘’One of the biggest dangers can be the public themselves. For example, people on the ground have been known to approach the helicopter when its rotor blades are still running.’’

The public does have a crucial role to play in ensuring the air ambulance can land safely and the crew can get to the patients as quickly as possible.

The air ambulance issued the following safety tips for the public if they see its helicopter is coming:

  • Clear the area so the helicopter has a clear space to land
  • Keep as far back as possible and stand still until the helicopter engines have completely stopped.
  • Keep hold of all children and protect their eyes. Grit and other debris can get blown about and can get in the eyes.
  • Make sure your dog is on a lead
  • Please respect the pilot’s wishes. You may be able to talk to the pilot if he has time while the medical crew is away from the aircraft.


CAA rules on drones can be found here 

The Air Ambulance Service does not receive any government funding. Our lifesaving missions are fuelled by your donations.

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