Watch moment hospital's helipad wrecked by military aircraft

This is the moment when a hospital helipad was destroyed by a US military aircraft.

The helipad at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge was damaged and decommissioned after a US Air Force Osprey tiltroter aircraft damaged it.

An Air Force spokesman said the unit “is continuously coordinating with local partners to improve operations.”

A video filmed and uploaded to the Trailspotters YouTube channelshows parts of the helipad at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge that were blown off the ground when a United States Air Force (USAF) CV22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft took off from there on Wednesday.

The USAF Osprey aircraft can take off, land and hover like a helicopter. When the position of its rotors is tilted, it has the long-range efficiency and speed of a turboprop aircraft.

The helipad serves as the main trauma center at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, and up to 800 people suffer serious traumatic injuries each year in the east of England.

Patients are currently being flown to Cambridge City Airport instead and then taken the three miles to the trauma center in a rural ambulance.

Repair work is in progress at the helipad. It is not clear how long the helipad will be out of service.

In response to the damage, Maj Keavy Rake of the USAF’s 48th Fighter Wing said, “The area has been surveyed according to our policies and procedures and some damage has occurred.

“We are taking steps to correct this as soon as possible.

“Our units are continuously coordinating with our local partners in order to improve operations.

“We are very grateful for the relationship and coordination we have with the UK.”

A spokesman for the NHS Trust at Cambridge University Hospitals said: “While our normal helipad is being repaired, ambulances will temporarily land at nearby Cambridge City Airport and patients will then be taken to the hospital in ambulances with ICU staff on board so we can continue around seeing and treating them as usual. “

Planespotter Elliot Langran, who witnessed the incident, said: “It was impressively loud, but a great sight.

“The rotor downdraft was pretty exhilarating too, especially near the osprey.

“It’s just a shame they landed on the grass and not on the helipad itself. The whole incident could have been avoided.”

A spokesman for the three air ambulances, the East Anglian Air Ambulance, the Magpas Air Ambulance and the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance, hopes the helipad will be operational “soon”.

In a statement, the spokesman said: “Due to an incident at the Cambridge University Hospitals heliport with a military aircraft on Wednesday April 21, the helipad is temporarily unavailable for air ambulances.

“The closest helipad is at Cambridge City Airport, where one of the EAAA (East Anglian Air Ambulance) teams is located.

“During this time, the EAAA helipad can be used as an alternate landing pad and patients can be brought to Addenbrooke by land ambulance with intensive care staff on board.

“Addenbrooke is the most important trauma center in the region. Therefore, the quick and efficient transfer of critically ill or injured patients to the hospital is of vital importance.

“Using the EAAA helipad is the best alternative while the CUH helipad is being used again.

“The situation was handled incredibly well by everyone involved and we are optimistic that the website will be up and running again soon.”

Cambridge Live reports that the East Anglian Air Ambulance is dispatched nine times a day from its bases in Cambridge and Norwich, while Magpas treats around three patients a day.

A spokesman for the NHS Trust at Cambridge University Hospitals said: “While our normal helipad is being repaired, ambulances will temporarily land at nearby Cambridge City Airport and patients will then be taken to the hospital in ambulances with ICU staff on board so we can continue around seeing and treating them as usual. “

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