Medical transport: double life-saving intervention in a few hours

(To air Force)

Between yesterday night, Wednesday 8 March and today morning, Thursday 9, an aircraft F of the 31st wing of Ciampino (RM) and a HH139B helicopter of the82nd Search and Rescue Center (SAR) of the Italian Air Force took off for two urgent medical transports. 

The first life-saving flight ended during the night, in favor of a young woman (33 years old) who, due to serious health conditions caused by burns, was transferred from Lamezia Terme (CZ) to Bari. The F, which took off from Ciampino military airport yesterday evening, reached Lamezia Terme airport where the woman and the medical team embarked. Subsequently, the military aircraft took off again for the Bari Palese (BA) airport where, shortly after midnight, the patient and the doctors were immediately transported by ambulance to the Bari Polyclinic. The medical flight was arranged, at the request of the prefecture of Vibo Valentia, from room top situations of the command of the air team of the Air Force which has, among its duties, also the coordination of this kind of activity in favor of the civilian population, throughout the national territory.

The second intervention, carried out by an HH-139B helicopter of the 82nd SAR center of the 15th wing of Cervia, took place around 6:00 in the morning, to recover a 70-year-old man of Spanish nationality, caught by illness while on board a cruise ship, about 60 nautical miles off the coast of Trapani. The helicopter immediately took off from the military airport of Trapani and, having reached the ship at about 6:15 - also thanks to the system Automatic Identification System, which allows boats to be identified using a maritime transponder – the crew recovered the man in a few minutes using a hoistable rescue stretcher, an indispensable tool where it is not possible to land, as in this case. A nurse from the cruise ship, who had been caring for the man from the beginning, was also on board with the patient.

Once boarding was completed safely, the helicopter headed for the “S. Antonio Abate” in Trapani, where he landed at around 7:20; the man was immediately entrusted to the care of the facility's health workers. The request for intervention, received in this case from Maritime Rescue Sub Center – MRSC of Palermo of the Coast Guard, was ordered by rescue coordination center of the aerospace operations command of the AM, based in Poggio Renatico (FE), the command and control center of the Air Force from which all operational activities of this kind are managed. Once the rescue was complete, the military crew returned to the Trapani Birgi base, where they resumed the search and rescue promptness service.

Air Force flight departments are available to the community 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with vehicles and crews capable of operating even in complex meteorological conditions, to ensure the urgent transport not only of people in imminent danger of life, but also of organs, medical teams or ambulances.
Hundreds of flight hours are carried out every year for this kind of intervention by the aircraft of the 31st wing of Ciampino, the 14th wing of Pratica di Mare, the 46th air brigade of Pisa and the helicopters of the 15th wing of Cervia.