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Saturday, Jan 23, 2021

Iron Man to the rescue? UK air ambulance trials JETPACKS to save stricken hikers

Iron Man to the rescue? UK air ambulance trials JETPACKS to save stricken hikers

The UK’s Lake District may soon boast the world’s first jetpack paramedic following the recent successful test flight of an Iron Man-esque first responder suit.

The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) conducted a simulated casualty operation at the Langdale Pikes.

What would normally take first responders 25 minutes of intense climbing, took Gravity Industries founder and chief test pilot Richard Browning just 90 seconds thanks to his 1,050 brake horsepower jet suit, as the incredible footage shows.

The drone footage, shot by none other than Ben Kenobi, showcases how Browning could vault obstacles and challenging terrain with ease to reach the patient in almost no time at all.

According to comments from the ambulance service, the jet suit paramedic can carry 10kg-15kg of kit in pouches on the pilot’s legs and chest, plenty of capacity to provide potentially life-saving first aid.

The video footage drew an enthusiastic response when it was released on Tuesday.

“As a paramedic myself, I think this is absolutely amazing, modern technology combined with pre hospital care bring great benefits to patients!” wrote Simon lush on Facebook.

“Iron Man could’ve been rescuing us off the fells last weekend! How amazing is this!” added Joana Dowling.

Testing is only in its early stages but the GNAAS is seriously considering supplementing its existing emergency response and mountain rescue teams with a jetpack paramedic.

“We could see the need. What we didn’t know for sure is how this would work in practice. Well we’ve seen it now and it is, quite honestly, awesome,” said Andy Mawson, director of operations and paramedic at GNAAS, citing dozens of patients every month in need of medical assistance throughout the Lakes region.

Mawson added that it is “important to still push the boundaries,” even when faced with such unprecedented challenges to emergency health services as the coronavirus pandemic.


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