It was only a few years back in 2011 that an Air Methods medical flight crashed killing 4 people onboard. The same medical flight services provider was fined last year for safety violations. In the latest incident, this US air ambulance company has been fined 1.5 million dollars again. For a common man, medical fight services represent the best emergency care that they can probably get, but the recent developments are casting doubts over this belief.
Why were It’s Medical Flight Services Fined?
According to Federal Aviation Administration, the medical flight services being delivered by two Eurocopter EC-130s had not conformed to the federal safety standards. The Air Methods choppers had flown over the sea repeatedly without any floatation gear or floatation devices, while having people onboard.
Is the Medical Flight Services Company Paying More Heed to Business than Safety?
This is one question that is being raised currently. It has been seen in the recent past that Air Methods has bagged several contracts with hospitals. The second fine in two years is forcing many to question whether the air ambulance company is more concerned about contracts than safety.
Voluntary Annual Reporting Option Could be the Culprit
Yes, it is voluntary for medical flight services to file annual reports concerning data pertaining to helicopter ambulances. Voices are being currently raised that the reporting should be made mandatory so that issues pertaining to safety do not go unreported.
Certain choppers lack functions like autopilot or the capacity to carry enough medical equipment. Such inadequacies force the pilots to work hard and often multi-task as they are forced to land on places they’ve never landed before in bad weather conditions and poor visibility.
One must consider the fact that about half a million medical flights are carried out each year. If most of these are actually critical cases, then these emergency vehicles must have proper safety precautions and adequate medical equipments in place.