The Air Ambulance has already flown five missions in Co Armagh since it was established just seven weeks ago.
As this is Air Ambulance Week, it was revealed that the new service has already been making a life-saving impact locally.
Air Ambulance NI Chief Executive, Patrick Minne, who is from Armagh, said: “The service has already been tasked 47 times, including five missions to County Armagh. Road traffic collisions account for nearly three quarters of the deployments, with the rest split between agricultural, industrial, domestic and sports accidents.
“Seventy-seven per cent of the calls come from rural areas.”
The service was actually tasked for its first mission ahead of its official launch when a call was received to Northern Ireland Ambulance Service about eleven-year-old Conor McMullan who was injured in a tractor accident near Castlewellan.
The doctor and paramedic team were on site within minutes and able to treat and stabilise Conor at the scene, before flying him to Belfast on a journey lasting eight minutes. He is now recovering well.
The Air Ambulance NI service is provided seven days a week during daylight hours and as a local charity needs £2m a year to keep it going.
Kerry Anderson, Head of Fundraising, said: “Whilst no one wants to ever need the helicopter service, it’s great that it’s here and improving long term outcomes for those suffering serious injury. Any one of us might need it, so it’s vital we keep the service going. The challenge is to raise the £2m to keep it here. That’s why we’re encouraging workplaces to have coffee mornings; community groups to hold events; and individuals to make a donation or volunteer. Whatever you can do will help. Let’s all get behind this fantastic service to keep it here for good.”
Donations can be made on-line at www.airambulanceni.org and you can call the charity on 028 9262 2677 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.