Inside the Airbus H215 helicopter, where medical teams work tirelessly to ensure swift and safe evacuations in West Africa's challenging landscapes

Helicopters saving lives on the front lines of EU missions in Mali

Discover the vital role of Airbus H215 helicopters in medical rescues on the frontline of EU missions in Mali

In the vast and challenging landscapes of West Africa's Republic of Mali, helicopters play a pivotal role in supporting the European Union Training Mission (EUTM), contributing not only to the mission's success but also to the well-being and safety of its personnel. Starlite, operating three Airbus H215 helicopters, is at the forefront of these critical medical evacuation missions, ensuring that help reaches those in need, even in the most remote areas.

24/7 ready

Captain Daniel Erasmus, a seasoned MEDEVAC pilot, provides insights into the daily challenges faced in this high-stakes operation. "Part of the mission is to be on a 24/7 standby and ready to react to any medical emergency," he explains. The team handles a diverse range of situations, from vehicle accidents to inter-hospital transfers and convoy support, emphasising the need for swift responses, with mission-specific response times ranging from 15 to 30 minutes.

Medical expertise at altitude

Dr Jacqui Amm, the Flight Physician, sheds light on the medical side of these operations. "Our main service involves monitoring the patient’s condition while continuing the care that was commenced prior to loading the patient," she explains. The medical team's responsibilities extend from ensuring patient safety during the flight to providing necessary interventions if required. In this critical environment, teamwork is paramount.

Erasmus and Amm emphasise the importance of working together from the moment a call is received to patient pick-up and delivery to a medical facility. Safety is paramount, with weather conditions in Mali presenting unique challenges. The crew collaborates closely to decide on the safety and appropriateness of each mission, highlighting the close teamwork between pilot and medical team.

Post-mission: ready for the next call

After successfully completing a mission, the team's work is far from over. Dr Amm describes the meticulous process of refuelling, unpacking the aircraft, sterilising medical equipment, and completing necessary documentation. The crew then engages in a debrief, aiming to identify areas for improvement and ensuring a cohesive response in future missions.

H215: a lifeline

The Airbus H215, a stalwart in the Super Puma family, has proven its mettle in medical evacuation missions in Mali. Its rugged design, impressive payload lift performance, and ability to operate in austere environments make it an invaluable asset in humanitarian, military, and disaster relief missions.

Source: Airbus