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.
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
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.
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.’”