TAIPEI (Taiwan News)—A brand new AgustaWestland AW169 helicopter carrying part of its medical flight crew took off from Taichung Airport in central Taiwan on Tuesday (July 31) morning and arrived at Penghu Airport at 11:15 a.m. to get ready for the official inauguration of air medical services in the offshore county of Penghu the next day.
Penghu Public Health Bureau Director-General Chen Shu-chuan (陳淑娟), who went to the airport to welcome the air ambulance and its crew, said the county had completed 14 helicopter emergency medical service routes, including Penghu Airport, Wangan Airport, Qimei Airport and 11 helicopter landing pads on other offshore islands to provide prompt, convenient and highly accessible patient transport and prehospital and emergency care for the islanders.
Chen said when the air ambulance services receive a call or fax from the National Aeromedical Approval Center, the helicopter is required to arrive at the airport or helicopter pad most closely located to where the patient is within 60 minutes except for Qimei, where 80 minutes are allowed. The helicopter has to transport the patient to a domestic airport on the island of Taiwan within 50 to 95 minutes, depending on which hospital the patient is being sent to, she added.
Emerald Pacific Airlines was awarded the emergency medical services contract for the Penghu archipelago, and the services will be inaugurated at 00:00 on August 1, when the same services are simultaneously launched for the other offshore islands of Kinmen and Matsu, Chen said.
Penghu County Magistrate Chen Kuang-fu said the county had been waiting for air ambulances to be stationed in Penghu for 18 years and this year it’s finally come true.