MDA inaugurates civilian flying ambulance service

A flying ambulance was launched by Magen David Adom on Monday to rush road accident victims and other sick people in faraway areas to hospitals without having to depend on the Israel Air Force. The first helicopter has been set down on the helipad at Poriya Medical Center in Tiberias. Outgoing MDA director-general Eli Bin had wanted a flying ambulance service since he entered his job years ago, but many difficulties stood in the way. The Lahak company attempted such a service with MDA since the early 1970s after friends of MDA in France donated an Alouette plane to the organization. But the maintenance costs were very high - several millions of shekels a year. The Air Force supplied helicopters for evacuation when they were not used for military uses, but this was not its first priority. Then US investors recently bought the helicopter and outfitted it for the transfer of patients in a civilian service, as is done routinely in Germany, Austria, and Germany, Italy, Holland, Australia and other countries. MDA medics and paramedics were trained for the service, which will get the helicopter to the patient and take him to the hospital in minutes.