Yorkshire Air Ambulance to launch third chopper for Yorkshire Grand Depart

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A lifesaving charity has announced it plans to launch an extra helicopter all next week for the Tour de France.

The Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA), which operates two helicopters to respond to emergencies in the county, has unveiled its plans as the emergency services plan for 3m visitors to Yorkshire during the July 5 and 6 Grand Depart.

The two current YAA helicopters will be located at the charity’s bases at the Nostell Estate, in Wakefield, and at RAF Topcliffe, near Thirsk, while the third will be placed along the race routes.

It will be situated at Wathgill Camp, Richmond, on day one and near Ripponden village, close to Halifax, during stage two the following day.

The YAA’s Chief Pilot, Captain Andy Lister, said: “Although the Tour de France provides their own medical assistance for competitors, there will be the spectators and the local people who live along the route, and this is one of the many reasons why we have taken the decision to bring in a third helicopter to give us increased cover during this period.

“There will also be access problems with roads being closed as well as much of the route travelling through remote areas of Yorkshire where access can also sometimes be problematic.

“We will be working alongside all of the emergency services and mountain rescue teams during this period, with support as necessary.”

The third helicopter is being provided by helicopter services provider Medical Aviation Services under the current agreement with the YAA with the provision for a relief aircraft, meaning it will be provided at no extra cost to the organisation. The YAA is an independent charity, which needs to raise £9,990 every day to keep its helicopters in the air and saving lives.

The YEP is fundraising for the YAA through our Wear it Yellow Day on Thursday July 3. We are urging organisations to sign up and wear yellow on the day, with individuals donating £1 each to the charity.

Email info@yaa.org.uk to get involved.

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