Falklands : FIG Allow Argentine Air Ambulance Evacuation
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 04.02.2004 (Article Archived on 18.02.2004)
An Argentine Air Ambulance has been given permission on humanitarian grounds to evacuate a seriously ill Namibian crew member from a Spanish Trawler, the Rolma Dos.
FIG Allow Argentine Air Ambulance Evacuation
By J. Brock (FINN)
An Argentine Air Ambulance has been given permission on humanitarian grounds to evacuate a seriously ill Namibian crew member from a Spanish Trawler, the Rolma Dos. Councillors, in a press release on Tuesday, said that though normally using the Chilean company, Aerocardel, Axa Assistance, the insurers, chartered the Argentine aircraft as the most cost-effective option. The patient was evacuated to Buenos Aires on Friday, 30 January 2004 after the aircraft was on the ground for 97 minutes.
Said Councillor Jan Cheek, who has the health and Medical Services Portfolio, ďFIG would have preferred Aerocardel to have carried out this evacuation, refusal to allow the process to be undertaken by Aerorotas would have put the patient at risk. The decision was taken on purely humanitarian grounds which, on this occasion, were paramount.Ē
In a radio interview with FIBSís Sue Gyford (SG) on Tuesday, Councillor Edwards gave more background on this flight and another flight that FIG have approved. He said this:
RE: The air Ambulance came in on Friday. I donít know what time it got in but it left about 1800. We were thinking initially it was due in on the Thursday and because it didnít come we thought that perhaps there had been some interference by the Argentine Government over these flights. But on investigation, we discovered that the insurance company had actually gone for the cheapest option, which was the Argentine aircraft and the Thursday date was just a date. All the Councillors stood together when we were informed that it was this Argentine aircraft coming in and they all agreed that because it was a medivac flight it could come in but we did ask for an investigation to find out why it didnít come on the Thursday. All flights are taken on a flight by flight basis aside from the RAF Flights and the LanChile Flights. Other flights coming from the South American Continent are all taken on a case by case basis.
SG: And, Cllr Edwards had this to say about the forth-coming private flight.
RE: We have approved another flight that will come from Argentina on March 13th. It is a private flight coming in. Once again, it was a private flight. Out of the 1999 agreement, letter following in 2000, agreeing to private flights coming in from Argentina as part of the agreement. And, we canít be seen at this stage to be interrupting those private flights by being seen to be going back on the agreement. We donít this especially when we are still trying to get a second LanChile Flight and hoping we can get the charter flights back. Itís a chap with a Piper Aztec and there are three of them coming in, spending the night in Stanley and going out again on March the 14th.
SG: Whatís the purpose of their visit?
RE: Pleasure and tourism. They have written down here. We have all the details of their passports. Obviously they will be going through the full immigration procedures when they arrive.
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