Pictured at the air ambulance base is Sam Graham from Ballymoney, who was helped by the air ambulance following a motorbike accident in 2018 and HEMS paramedic Emma Boylan. Sam visited the base in celebration of 999 Emergency Services Day on 9th September 2019.

Air Ambulance NI reach 999 tasking milestone

Northern Ireland’s Air Ambulance has recently been tasked to its 999th tasking, just two years into operations.  In recognition of this milestone, the Air Ambulance NI charity along with its partners at the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) met with just some of the patients on 999 Emergency Services Day today, 9th September 2019. 

Glenn O’Rorke, Operational Lead for Air Ambulance NI said, “The Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) team are tasked to serious trauma incidents on average on one to two occasions every day.  We are conscious that each of these taskings means that someone has been very seriously injured.  Whether the incident is on a farm, buildings site, school yard, playing field, hillside or roadside, time is always of the essence in a serious trauma situation. The Air Ambulance brings specialist medical care to the scene within minutes and thanks to the publics on-going fundraising support, we can respond 365 days of the year This service can be the difference between life and death. 

Recovering patient Sam Graham who attended the 999 event said, “I’m a motorbike enthusiast and in July 2018 was enjoying a ride along the White Park coastal road in Co. Antrim when tragedy struck as my bike was clipped by an approaching vehicle.  I was catapulted from my bike, and then struck by part of it before sliding 70 yards down the road.”  Sam had a bleed on the brain, ten broken ribs, two punctured lungs, a fragmented vertebrae, a badly smashed ankle which needed surgery to rebuild using two plates and ten screws. Sam was put into an induced coma for 17 days which caused great concern for his family, but thankfully is now well on the road to recovery. 

Sam continued, “I know that without the services of the Air Ambulance and the medical team, I just wouldn’t have made it that day. With their expertise, technical equipment and speed, it’s like bringing an intensive care to the road side. I’m so grateful for Dr. Rob and Paramedic Emma and the entire team – I will never be able to thank them enough. Rob visited me while I was in hospital and it was so great to meet one of the people who treated me that day. I would encourage people to do what they can to support Air Ambulance Northern Ireland. It’s a fantastic charity.” 

Michael Bloomfield, Chief Executive of NIAS, said, “It’s remarkable to meet with some of the patients and see the positive difference that HEMS is making. 999 Emergency Services Day is opportune to recognise the exemplary partnership working between Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, the charity Air Ambulance NI and of course our emergency partners at PSNI and the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) who work tirelessly together at scene every day.” 

The charity relies on continued support to raise £2m per year to keep the service operational. 



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