The South Pacific Air Ambulance aircraft

The South Pacific Air Ambulance aircraft (Photo supplied)

The Vanuatu South Pacific Air Ambulance Service, made its first operational service yesterday, by evacuating a patient from Port Vila to Noumea, New Caledonia.

The flight took around an hour and half from Port Vila to Noumea.

It was described as a successful air medical evacuation, after the aircraft arrived in Port Vila in 2016.

All air worthiness and certification requirements, including test flights were fully carried out before the Air Ambulance was ready to begin operation, which saw the first air medevac with a patient from Port Vila to Noumea, New Caledonia, yesterday at around 11.00 am. There was a doctor, a pro-med and a nurse on board.

The Vanuatu South Pacific Air Ambulance Service is here to provide ambulance service domestically to Luganville Santo, Tanna and other airfields in Vanuatu with runways that can take on the aircraft.

It is also here to service Fiji, Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, Australia and New Zealand.

Travelling to New Caledonia on the first Vanuatu South Pacific Air Ambulance with the patient was a Doctor, a Paramedic and a Nurse. Now that the first Air Ambulance Service first operation has been proven successful, the Air Ambulance is ready to provide similar professional air ambulance service domestically and within the South Pacific region including New Caledonia, Australia and New Zealand.

The Merlin Fairchild IVA Turboprop aircraft is an on the ground dedicated medical evacuation aircraft owned by Air Leasing, operated by Air Taxi and maintained by Airworx Ltd- a locally owned business.

The aircraft has a cruise speed of 260 knots with a range of over 1,500 nautical miles, fitted with state of the art aero med unit from Med-Pacific USA.

The aircraft has a large cargo door for ease of patient loading and unloading, has more cabin volume than jet powered Air Ambulances.

Vanuatu should be proud of this achievement as the Air Ambulance has enabled the country to be a leader in the Pacific in Pre-Medic Care and now can provide an international Standard Aero-Medical retrieval Service, not only to Vanuatu, but to the greater part of the South Pacific.

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