Boy seriously injured in Castlewellan tractor incident

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Air ambulance helicopter
Image caption,
The air ambulance service is based at the former Maze Prison site

An 11-year-old boy has been seriously injured in an incident involving a tractor in Castlewellan in County Down.

The incident was reported at 13:45 BST on Saturday.

The Air Ambulance Northern Ireland airlifted the boy to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children where he is in a stable condition.

The callout was the first mission for the helicopter and its crew.

The air ambulance team is working through final preparations, including training and familiarisation flights, ahead of an official media launch of the service planned for early-August.

But as a result of the serious nature of the incident the aircraft was tasked to bring the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) doctor and paramedic to the scene.

'Huge difference'

Glenn O'Rorke, the operational lead for HEMS, said: "Having a full doctor and paramedic team on board it was felt necessary to respond.

"It is very important to get there as soon as we can for anybody who has any serious injuries.

"Bringing the doctor and paramedic team to the scene, they can carry out necessary interventions and treatment to stabilise a patient to then transfer on to an appropriate hospital."

The air ambulance service will "make a huge difference" to patients' lives, he added.

"It will improve their quality of life after injury because we will be there in a very short period of time," he said.

Northern Ireland had been the only part in the UK without such a service.