Mumbai may become 1st city in India to have free ‘air ambulance’ service

Mumbai may become 1st city in India to have free 'air ambulance' service 1
Representational Image. Courtesy: essentialmarketer.com

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is planning to start a free ‘air ambulance’ service for airlifting seriously injured accident victims to select hospitals and transporting organs.

If the plan materialises, Mumbai will be the first city in the country to have this service.

According to a TOI report, the civic body is already on the lookout for possible landing spots and is likely to invite an expression of interest (IOE) from helicopter operators.

Some of the potential take off spots include Oval Maidan, Bandra-end of the Sea Link, BKC and hospital roofs.

The BMC started chalking out a plan following a recent incident, where three firemen suffered burns while rescuing a bird near Mahalaxmi railway station. Their journey to the National Burns Centre in Airoli had gotten delayed due to traffic because of which one firemen lost his life.

Additional Municipal Commissioner I A Kundan and Chief Fire officer P Rahangdale, after visiting the injured firefighters in hospital, discussed the idea with BMC Chief Ajoy Mehta.

Following the discussion, Mehta asked Kundan to prepare a plan, the details of which were discussed during the civic standing committee’s meeting on Tuesday.

Experts, meanwhile, are uncertain about the plan’s feasibility owing to the cost factors.

“The fire brigade may foot the bill for its personnel, but if the helicopter has to be used to airlift other patients, how will payments be settled? A pre-booked twin-engine helicopter charter flight will cost approximately Rs 1.25 lakh per hour and a single-engine flight Rs 80,000 an hour,”¬†Captain Uday Gelli, president (western region), Rotor Wing Society of India told the daily.

“Even if the flight lasts only a few minutes, the operator will charge for one hour, which is the minimum payment. So, who will foot the bill?” Captain Uday Gelli, president (western region), Rotor Wing Society of India told the daily,” he added.

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