Air ambulances can land at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge again after its helipad was wrecked by a US military aircraft.
A temporary grass landing site will be available for East Anglia’s three air ambulance charities to transfer critically ill patients to the hospital.
The helipad still needs to be fully replaced after a US Air Force Osprey caused carnage while carrying out a training operation on Wednesday (April 21).
The aircraft sent debris flying and rendered the helipad unusable as it took off from the site.
East Anglian Air Ambulance, Magpas, and Essex and Herts Air Ambulance were told to use an alternative landing site three miles away at Cambridge City Airport due to the damage caused.
Addenbrooke’s Hospital said it had cleared debris and carried out safety checks to ensure air ambulances can land safely at the temporary landing site.
It added that work will start shortly to fully replace the helipad, though the hospital did not confirm how much this would cost or who would foot the bill.
The US military aircraft from RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk was undertaking a medical-transfer training operation at Addenbrooke’s when, upon taking off, its downdraft sent debris flying into the air.
Speaking after the incident, Major Keavy Rake from USAF 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Mildenhall said: “The area was surveyed according to our policies and procedures and some damage did occur.
“We are taking steps to rectify as soon as possible.”
Planespotter Elliot Langran, who witnessed the incident, said: “It was impressively loud but an awesome sight.
“Just a shame they landed on the grass and not on the helipad itself, the whole incident may have been avoided.”
Some on social media questioned whether the Addenbrooke’s helipad was fit for purpose after it appeared to be blown apart by the gust of the Osprey aircraft.
Adam Baynes said on Facebook: “This is Addenbrooke’s fault they had the money to build a proper pad.
“This could have been so much worse especially if the debris hit the rotors or engines.”
Addenbrooke’s Hospital said it could not yet comment on the condition of the helipad.