Third Yorkshire Air Ambulance for Tour De France

Helicopter A third helicopter will operate along the route of the Grand Départ

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The Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA) is to operate an extra helicopter in the week leading up to and during the Tour De France, the charity has announced.

YAA currently operates two helicopters, one based on the Nostell Estate near Wakefield and the other at RAF Topcliffe near Thirsk.

The third aircraft will cover the route of the Grand Départ.

YAA said it was "expecting to see an increase in activity as the population swells with tourists".

The Grand Depart begins in Leeds on 5 July and continues from York to Sheffield on 6 July.

Thousands of visitors are expected in the region during the event.

YAA's chief pilot Captain Andy Lister said: "Although the Tour de France provides their own medical assistance for competitors, there will be the spectators and the local people who live along the route.

"This is one of the many reasons why we have taken the decision to bring in a third helicopter to give us increased cover during this period."

"There will also be access problems with roads being closed, as well as much of the route travelling through remote areas of Yorkshire, where access can also sometimes be problematic."

The third helicopter has been offered at no extra cost to the charity by a private company that provides aviation support to the public services, YAA added.

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