Wales Air Ambulance, March 26, 2013 - Wales Air Ambulance completed a historic mission this week with the charity’s first ever night mission.
The lifesaving charity made its maiden flight during darkness hours on Monday, March 25, saving the life of a 59-year-old man who had suffered a heart attack.
The mission follows weeks of extensive night flight training for pilots and paramedics at the Wales Air Ambulance base in Welshpool.
Jason Williams, national clinical and operations manager for Wales Air Ambulance, said: “This is an excellent example of the life saving service provided to the residents and visitors of Wales.
“In this example, "time is muscle", and every minute that the heart muscle is deprived of blood the chances of survival are greatly reduced as the muscle dies.
“It is so frustrating to have previously had to put the aircraft away at night knowing that there are still patients that could benefit from this life saving service, and it is a real boost to be able to extend our flying hours into darkness.
“We all hope this gentleman makes a speedy recovery.”
After receiving an emergency 999 call, Wales Air Ambulance staff quickly diagnosed that the patient was experiencing a heart attack, and took just 46 minutes to transport the man from Welshpool to the nearest cardiac centre at North Staffordshire University Hospital in Stoke.
The flight reduced the transport time for this patient by at least an hour compared to traveling on land, and ensured he received a life saving procedure where a cardiac stent was inserted into the coronary arties to improve blood flow to the heart.
The Wales Air Ambulance began night flight trials at the start of the month, having raised £6 million to upgrade its three aircraft based at Swansea, Welshpool and Caernarfon.
Wales Air Ambulance chief executive Angela Hughes said: “The vision of the Wales Air Ambulance is to provide a 24-hour air ambulance operation in Wales, this is an exciting step towards that vision.
“The Charity is extremely pleased that with the continued dedication of its supporters and staff to deliver this life saving service into the hours of darkness."