Addenbrooke's Hospital: US government to pay for destroyed helipad

media captionAddenbrooke's Hospital helipad was destroyed by departing aircraft

The United States government will pay for repairs to an NHS hospital's helipad destroyed by a departing military aircraft, the hospital said.

The landing site at Addenbrooke's in Cambridge was damaged by the draught of a USAF CV22 Osprey as it took off on 21 April while carrying out medical transfer training.

Air ambulances were temporarily diverted to Cambridge City Airport.

The hospital has yet to confirm how much the repairs may cost.

A spokeswoman for Cambridge University Hospitals said contractors had been engaged and orders were being placed now.

The aircraft was based at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk, which is the home of the 100th Air Refueling Wing.

image captionA USAF spokesman said the medical evacuation training exercise was carried out after a full assessment of the helipad

A spokesman for RAF Mildenhall said: "We regret any disruption caused to the hospital and the associated emergency services and truly appreciate their understanding and the long-standing relationship and partnership between the US and UK.

"The US forces and UK [Ministry of Defence] are coordinating to rectify the situation as quickly as possible, and will continue to work with local partners to return the area to its original state."

He added it was the first time the base had conducted operations at the Addenbrooke's helipad, and the exercise had been planned with the pad's manufacturer, hospital staff and air ambulance units.

After the structure was thrown into the air, air ambulances landed at the nearby airport for two days, with patients transferred to road ambulances for the three-mile (4.8km) journey to the hospital alongside on-board critical care staff.

USAF and MoD teams cleared the helipad of debris within 24 hours and "the intention is for the pad to be replaced", the RAF Mildenhall spokesman added.

Air ambulances have been able to land on grass close to the usual site since Friday.

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