British Columbia

Air ambulances cleared to land at B.C. hospitals

Air ambulances have been given the go-ahead to land at two B.C. hospitals after being grounded last spring.

Helijets are able to land at Royal Columbian and Surrey Memorial Hospital once again

Air ambulance services have resumed at two hospitals in B.C. after being suspended earlier this year. (BC Emergency Health Services/Twitter)

Air ambulances will be landing on helipads at two B.C. hospitals once again after the flights were suspended at several locations earlier this year.

Helijet International, which is contracted to B.C. Emergency Health Services, stopped landing at seven hospitals on Vancouver Island and the South Coast in March after Transport Canada raised technical concerns.

While the flights were restricted, the air ambulances were diverted to alternative landing sites nearby. Patients were then transported to the hospitals by ground.

Air ambulance service was temporarily halted at seven hospitals on Vancouver Island and the South Coast earlier this year. (B.C. Ambulance Service/Wikipedia)

Some flights were reinstated at five of the seven hospitals in August, after Transport Canada issued an exemption.

Service was still restricted for night flights at Vancouver General Hospital and all flights to Royal Columbian and Surrey Memorial Hospital.

Last week Transport Canada, Helijet, and an independent aviation expert were able to create a new certificate to add to the aircraft's flight manual. 

Service is expected to resume at the remaining locations on Friday. 

The affected hospitals were:

  • B.C. Children's Hospital and B.C. Women's Hospital (Vancouver).
  • Vancouver General Hospital.
  • Royal Columbian Hospital (New Westminster).
  • Surrey Memorial Hospital.
  • Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.
  • St. Joseph's Hospital (Comox).
  • Sechelt Hospital.