Midlands Air Ambulance wants to buy night helicopter

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Staff at the Midlands Air Ambulance have announced plans to buy a helicopter capable of flying a night.

The charity, which has been running a land ambulance for calls received overnight since April, is waiting for approval from the aviation authorities.

Fundraising director Jason Levy said the new helicopter would cost £1.6m a year to run and about £4.5m to buy.

The service runs three helicopters and it is hoped the new one could start operating in September next year.

'Public phenomenal'

The charity covers Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire and the West Midlands.

Mr Levy said: "We rely heavily on the generous funding from the public who have been phenomenal in recent years - this is our 21st anniversary."

He added the three helicopters they use, which are all leased through current operator Bond Air Services, cost £6m a year to run.

Assistant chief ambulance officer Steve Wheaton said: "There is definitely a demand for a night aircraft as the night car has been called out 388 times since it started running in April."

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