A pilot flying the country’s newest air ambulance is concerned an increase in tourists in northern Scotland as lockdown is eased may lead to more people being seriously injured.
Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance’s second aircraft flew out of its Aberdeen base 196 times in the past 12 months, with road crashes accounting for more than 15% of its work.
But, compared to what the new team might have expected before coronavirus changed the course of their first year in the job, the summer was a quiet one.
Now pilot Pete Winn worries more motorists driving on the picturesque but unfamiliar roads of the Highlands and north-east will result in more people being hurt.
He told The P&J: “Looking at the number of road collisions from the last year, the number of cars on the road was significantly down.
“There were fewer tourists in the Highlands. Fewer foreign drivers on the roads.
“This year the number of vehicles will increase.”
And he should know, having worked on the government-funded Helimed 2, flying out of Dalcross in Inverness, before taking the job with Scaa in Aberdeen.
The winding roads of Royal Deeside and the North Coast 500 are “notoriously busy” over the summer, added paramedic Rich Forte – and are expected to return to more normal levels are the country reopens.
He said: “It will be interesting to see what this summer is like compared to last.
“We are bracing to be busier, especially if people remain unable to go abroad.
“Scotland will be that natural draw for a lot of people on the other side of the border too, so I fear we will see an increase in taskings to road accidents.”
Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance has made a huge impact since 2013, saving lives and preventing suffering.
That is why the P&J campaigned successfully for Scaa’s second helicopter to be based in our region.
It has now been a year since the aircraft – call sign Helimed 79 – started flying missions from Aberdeen Airport.
But this is an emergency service that relies entirely on donations.
Each call-out costs about £2,500 and SCAA needs P&J readers to help hit its £6million target to cover the cost of its first three years operating in the north-east.
So please do anything you can to raise those funds and show that We’re Backing Helimed 79.
Ways to donate to SCAA
- Website: www.scaa.org.uk/donate
- Text: Text ‘SCAA’ and the amount to 70085
- Phone: 03001231111
- Cheques: Made payable to ‘SCAA’ or ‘Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance’ and sent to: Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA), The Control Tower, Perth Airport, Scone, PH2 6PL