Road Safety Authority activates Eilat helicopter rescue system

Move made in effort to significantly reduce the time it takes to transport injured drivers to the hospital.

September 8, 2013 04:08
1 minute read.
Israeli rescue helicopter [file]

Israeli rescue helicopter 370 (R). (photo credit: Ammar Awad / Reuters)

For the duration of the holiday season, the National Road Safety Authority will operate a helicopter rescue in the Eilat region.

The authority took the move in an effort to significantly reduce the time it takes to transport injured drivers to the hospital.

Helicopter evacuation of road accident victims will take place from September 4 through September 28, with an aircraft on-call at Eilat Airport, 24 hours a day, the authority announced. It stressed that it thereby expects to significantly reduce the severity of injuries.

After receiving an exemption from issuing a tender for the job, the steering committee of the Road Safety Authority made the decision on Tuesday to launch the operation.

When Eilat Airport is open, helicopter response to emergency calls will be immediate, while when the airport is closed it will take about 30 minutes from the time of call for the aircraft to arrive at accident sites, the authority explained. The Road Safety Authority said the aircraft’s presence can benefit not only Eilat residents but also the many tourists flocking to the seaside city during the Hebrew month of Tishrei.

The Eilat emergency helicopter activation joins two existing operations in the North and South, and the authority said that it plans to launch a 24-hour helicopter program that will run throughout the year – financed partially by the authority.

The Eilat helicopter is being supplied by the Lahak Aviation company, which is responsible for fuel and maintenance, as well as for pilots and paramedics on board. The Road Safety Authority is paying Lahak NIS 275,000 for the operation, with Lahak receiving two-thirds of any revenue generated during the rescues and the authority receiving one third.

“The National Road Safety Authority sees the subjects of release, rescue and trauma rooms for road accident victims as a most important element in saving lives and reducing the number of fatalities on the road,” the authority said.

By implementing a number of infrastructure improvements, enforcement actions, educational programs and more efficient strategies, the authority hopes to see Israel among the five safest countries in the field of road safety by the year 2020 – with an “aspiration to realize the vision of ‘zero fatalities.’”

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