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Air ambulance being checked over

August 1, 2018 5:14 PM

As part of the ongoing operation into the Amesbury poisoning, specialist teams are now undertaking precautionary testing of the Wiltshire Air Ambulance station, emergency vehicles and kit worn by responders involved in the initial response to Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess.

The process is designed to ensure no contamination has taken place. The risk of this is low, however it is essential that no chances are taken and this is why the work is taking place.

To ensure the specialist sampling teams are able to complete their work unimpeded, the Air Ambulance base in Semington will close from 5pm today (Weds 1 August 2018). During the course of the work, the Air Ambulance will also be subject of precautionary sampling and will be unable to fly.

During the period the helicopter is unable to fly, the charity's paramedics and doctors will remain fully operational providing critical care in Wiltshire by using Rapid Response Cars. The cars have the same specialist medical equipment as the helicopter.

At the conclusion of the work the results will inform what if any, wider remediation work needs to take place.

Deputy Chief Constable Paul Mills, who is leading the response to the incident said: "We are very aware that this news might cause some concern to our communities. The work we are undertaking forms part of the wider ongoing response to the incident and is the next logical precautionary step in the process. This highly precautionary activity is focused on ensuring that we take all steps necessary to consider any remediation activity which may be necessary in the longer term to further reduce any residual risk."

Chief Executive of Wiltshire Air Ambulance David Philpott said: "As is normal procedure when our helicopter is unable to fly, our paramedics and doctors will respond to emergencies in Rapid Response Cars, providing critical care to patients. We are incredibly proud to provide a lifesaving service in Wiltshire and surrounding counties and thank everyone, including our colleagues at neighbouring air ambulances, who will offer support in the short term."