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Service lets Beijingers rent helicopters for emergencies

(Beijing Times)

13:06, October 12, 2011

Edited and Translated by Han Shasha, People's Daily Online

Residents in Beijing can call and rent a helicopter, which costs 30,000 yuan an hour, in the event of an emergency.

Jointly hosted by the 999 Emergency Rescue Center under the Beijing Red Cross Foundation and Beijing Capital Airlines Co., Ltd., an air-to-ground emergency rescue trial was held on Oct. 11, 2011.

The rescue trial was conducted near the Badaling expressway. The 999 emergency center received a call saying that an accident occurred on the expressway and one person was seriously injured. It took only 23 minutes for the emergency center to send the victim to the nearby hospital by helicopter. However, it would take one hour by ambulance.

The trial marked the beginning of the helicopter rescue service in Beijing.

Because of the shortage of aircraft, the helicopters will be limited to use in major accidents or short-distance emergencies. It will take 10 minutes to 15 minutes to fly from the northern Fifth Ring Road to the southern. The helicopter team will provide the service in Beijing and its surrounding cities in Hebei, Tianjin, Inner Mongolia and Shanxi.

The cost for the service is 30,000 yuan per hour in Beijing. Han Lu, executive vice president of Beijing Red Cross, said that they are seeking to work with some insurance companies and establish foundations to lower the cost.

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