Nova Scotia

N.S. to lease 2 LifeFlight helicopters that can land at hospitals

The province of Nova Scotia is in the process of adding two Sikorsky 76 C+ helicopters to its Emergency Health Services LifeFlight service, according to a news release from the provincial government.

Province says it is in negotiations with LifeFlight provider Canadian Helicopters Ltd.

LifeFlight helicopter Nova Scotia
This is the current LifeFlight helicopter used by the province of Nova Scotia. The government is in the process of acquiring two Sikorsky 76 C+ helicopters. (Government of Nova Scotia)

The Nova Scotia government is adding two Sikorsky 76 C+ helicopters to its LifeFlight service that will be able to land at hospital helipads. 

The EHS service provides critical care to ill and injured patients by flying them to hospital. "It's critical," said Larry Crewson, director of EHS.

He said the new helicopters will perform better, provide more power, and offer a bigger range than the existing LifeFlight helicopter. That one was built in 1980 and has not been able to land on hospital helipads in Halifax and Digby since April due to a change in Transport Canada regulations.

The helicopter has instead been landing on the Point Pleasant Park helipad in Halifax and at the Digby airport. 

Crewson said the new ones shouldn't have the same problem. While only one helicopter will be in use at any given time, having two means LifeFlight will be able to answer 98 per cent of the calls, up from today's 80 per cent. LifeFlight responds to about 400 calls a year, and that could rise with the improved availability. 

The province said it is finishing up negotiations to lease the Sikorsky 76 C+ helicopters from its current LifeFlight provider, Canadian Helicopters Ltd. 

The helicopters were built in 2005. They will be refurbished to suit LifeFlight's needs, said the Department of Health. 

The province won't say how much the choppers will cost. It said that information would not be available until its contract with Canadian Helicopters is finalized some time in January. 

After the agreement is put through it will take about six months for the helicopters to arrive.