New air ambulance is 'fabulous Christmas present'

New air ambulance
Image caption The helicopter can carry two patients

A new air ambulance for Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland has been unveiled at a ceremony at its base at East Midlands Airport.

The Italian-made Agusta 109 Grande will be leased by the charity that runs the service.

The helicopter has a cruising speed of just under 200mph (322kph).

Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland Air Ambulance said it was "a fabulous Christmas present to our crew and the areas we serve".

The charity's chief executive Andy Williamson said: "It can be airborne in around 45 seconds where some services can take up to five minutes to warm up and the same to shut down.

"The helicopter also has enough cabin space for two patients on stretchers and for treatment to continue to the whole body if necessary."

The helicopter's low vibration rate means patients with serious head, neck or spinal injuries can be transported safely.

The crew provides intensive care to patients on the scene and during flights.

The helicopter attended a total of 473 incidents between April and August, an increase of 10% on the same period in 2009.

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