The Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA) has seen its busiest weekend in their 14 -year history as the Tour de France passed through Yorkshire.
The emergency rapid response charity attended 10 incidents on Friday and a further 21 over the Saturday and Sunday. On a normal weekend, the Air Ambulance may respond to three or four call-outs.
However the YAA were well prepared for the expected increase in operational activity and had drafted in the use of a third helicopter to help provide extra coverage over Le Grand Depart weekend.
YAA Marketing and Communications Manager Abby McClymont said: We knew that we were in for a busy few days with the excitement of the Tour de France coming to the region, however this past weekend has been one of the busiest for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.
Our two helicopters, along with the third extra aircraft and their crews attended 21 incidents on Saturday and Sunday alone. We have had many busy weekends in the past, but nothing as busy as this last one has been.
We were pleased to be able to work alongside the other emergency services and help out where required.
Most of the incidents were linked to the amazing success of Yorkshire hosting the Grand Depart and the first two stages of the world’s biggest sporting event.
Abby added: We were called to a few people who had been out cycling on the route, or were on their way to watch the race and unfortunately found themselves needing the air ambulance.
Other incidents included spectators who developed health problems whilst waiting for the race to go past. However, generally, we attended the same kind of jobs we would usually do, but just in a greater volume due to the vastly increased number of people in the region over the weekend.
The YAA’s two helicopters operated from their airbases on the Nostell Estate near Wakefield and at RAF Topcliffe near Thirsk. The third helicopter was operational from stand-by points close to the route – at Wathgill Camp near Richmond and Beeston Hall Farm, near Ripponden.
Abby concluded: As well as being busy operationally, we were also busy with lots of Tour de France related fundraising events. The atmosphere along the route was fantastic and Yorkshire has a lot to be proud of. We would like to sincerely thank everyone who has supported us, especially over this weekend.
The Yorkshire Air Ambulance is an independent Charity providing a rapid response emergency service to the people of Yorkshire. It costs £9,990 each day to keep the charity running, and with no direct government funding, relies on individuals, groups and organisations to help raise the vital funds required.
The only help they receive is through the secondment of their paramedics from Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust.
Caption: The Yorkshire Air Ambulance crew based at RAF Topcliffe with their normal G-SASH helicopter and special relief aircraft brought in for the Tour de France .