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School reassured over helicopter flight damage
THE DORSET and Somerset Air Ambulance has moved to reassure parents after a lifesaving mission caused damage at Damers First School.
Windows were broken when the helicopter flew over the school as it went to pick up a patient from Dorset County Hospital.
The patient was being flown to Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham for an emergency lung operation and a spokesperson for the air ambulance said as a result the helicopter had more fuel in it than usual.
She added that there had been almost no other similar instances when the air ambulance had caused damage to the school and an investigation had been launched into the latest incident, which did not result in any injuries at all to any children or staff.
The spokesperson added that Air Ambulance staff had been in contact with the headteacher and the school had sent out a communication to all parents.
She said: “It was a lifesaving mission that we were doing and luckily nobody got hurt in the process.”
The Echo had been contacted by a concerned Damers parent who said that windows had been broken in two classes.
They said: “Of course the air ambulance is a fantastic service, however as a parent I worry that the helicopters take off and land over the playground area.”
The parent added: “Our children’s safety must come first.”
Headteacher Cath-erine Smith said the incident at Damers was a ‘one off’ and that because all the usual protocols the school had set up regarding the landing and arrival of the air ambulance had been put in to place no child had been at risk.
She added that she was very satisfied with the response from both the air ambulance charity and operator Bond Helicopters.
Mrs Smith said: “It was a one off and Bond Helicopters have assured me they have new systems in place to make sure it never happens again.
“They have extended the exclusion zone around the school, sent an internal communication to all pilots and have launched this investigation.
“I have communicated that to our parents.”
A spokesman for Dorset County Hospital said the helicopter did not usually fly over the school to land on its helipad.
She added: “We always inform the school when the helicopter is coming in so they can take the children inside.
“Obviously we take the health and safety issues of having a helipad at the hospital very seriously so every precaution it taken.”
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