Air rescue for those suffering medical emergencies has come a long way since it was first dreamt of over 150 years ago. Aeroworx is proud to be a vital part of the ever-improving world of medical emergency air evacuation services.
The first mention of air ambulances is in fiction in Jules Verne’s 1866 book, Robur the Conqueror. In Verne’s early sci-fi story, a propellor-driven flying vehicle is used to air evac injured shipwrecked sailors years before it actually happened.
Flight of fancy
It has been suggested that hot air balloons were used to help the injured in the Siege of Paris Siege of 1870. That is now disputed by expert historians and dismissed as a lot of hot air.
The first recorded air ambulance flight was in 1917 in World War One when the British army flew a soldier to hospital who had been shot in the ankle. The flight, in what is present-day Turkey, took 45 minutes – the same journey by road would have taken three days.
Air ambulances were first used in Africa in 1920 in Somaliland, in the Horn of Africa. During the 20-year conflict between the Dervishes and the British army, a single engine biplane was fitted with a stretcher in the space behind the pilot.
Wizards of Oz
In the 1920s, Australian pilots started to provide an informal airplane medical emergency service to remote areas of the outback. It was clearly needed and, in 1928, the famous Royal Flying Doctor Service was established.
Rise of helicopters
During the Korean War of the early 1950s, helicopters were used for the first time as medical emergency air evacuation vehicles, to transport injured US soldiers. They were made world famous by the film and TV series M* A* S* H. Use of air ambulance helicopters accelerated through the 60s and 70s during the Vietnam War. Over 900,000 wounded soldiers and civilians are thought to have been transported for medical treatment during the conflict.
Every year, over 550,000 patients in America are transported by air ambulance for medical treatment. According to a 2012 study, patients transported by air evacuation arrive at hospital sooner, receive treatment quicker and have a higher probability of surviving their medical emergency, compared to traditional services.
Aeroworx launches in Africa
In 2017, Aeroworx established Africa’s combined air evacuation and medical emergency treatment policy. The company now covers 48 of Africa’s 52 countries in an ever-expanding service. Contact us here to find out how you can start your cover.