A specialist rescue helicopter from HM Coastguard Caernarfon in North Wales was scrambled on Friday night to transfer a critically ill patient from the Causeway Hospital Coleraine to Leicester Hospital.
The rescue helicopter was tasked at 21:18hrs to East Midlands Airport to collect a Specialist medical trauma team and transfer them to the Causeway Hospital, where they arrived at 23:25hrs.
While the medical team were preparing the patient for the flight across the Irish Sea, the rescue helicopter then flew to Belfast International Airport (Aldergrove) to fuel and prepare for the flight, of just under 2hrs.
Upon landing back at the Causeway Hospital the helicopter waited for the medical team to ready the patient for transfer.
It took considerable time to prepare and stabilise the patient for the flight.
Once the patient was fully prepared, with life support equipment the medical team, accompanied by surgeons, doctors, paramedics and coastguard team, they transferred the patient from the hospital building to the waiting helicopter.
The patient was loaded through the back of the Sikorsky S-92.
The patient would have been connected to the life support equipment on the helicopter swiftly before coastguard teams pulled back and secured the Helipad for takeoff.
At 02:40hrs the helicopter lifted from the landing site en route back to East Midlands Airport where it is understood the casualty was taken by ambulance to Leicester Hospital.
Due to weather conditions in Coleraine, the route between the hospital and the landing area was gritted to ensure safe movement of the patient.
The medical team that travelled with the helicopter crew were kitted in specialist survival suits and life jackets for the trip across the Irish Sea.
While returning to East Midlands Airport the helicopter travelled at a height of 2,500ft to avoid unnecessary turbulence at any higher altitude but was given discretion by Air Traffic Control of the height.
“Rescue 936” was cleared through controlled airspace by Aldergrove Radar and was given priority over other aircraft as it was a medical emergency.