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USA: Florida invests in medical helicopters

Over 52 million dollars to renew Hems service fleet

Florida is investing 52 million dollars to renew the fleet of helicopters operating the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS). It was decided by Monroe County, the southernmost in the United States. A truly important choice for a region where 99% of the population lives on the islands of the Florida Keys archipelago, while two-thirds of the land on the mainland is covered by two national parks.

The decision by the Monroe County Commissioners was put to a vote and authorized yesterday. The expense commitment includes the replacement of the current three helicopters of the "Trauma Star" medical operator, which have been in service for over 20 years to transport patients from Monroe County to hospitals in Miami-Dade County.

The fleet consists of Sikorsky S-76/C transport aircraft built around 2001, they are powered by two Turbomeca Arriel 2S1 Turbo-shaft (833hp) engines and can accommodate up to 14 people on board; they carry out an average of over 1400 interventions a year. Funds deriving from taxes paid by tourists will mainly be used to finance the cost of replacing the old helicopters.

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency