CORK’S Air Ambulance, which can travel from Bantry to CUH in less than 12 minutes, is running out of funds and needs an cash injection of €250,000 from the public by the end of the year, or it will be grounded.
The medi-helicopter was launched in July by the Irish Community Rapid Response (ICRR) which was founded by Baltimore man John Kearney.
They run it in partnership with the HSE but the helicopter, pilots, air-base and fuel are entirely charity-funded. Each flight costs the ICCR €3,600.
The ICRR expected to launch 500 missions annually. But by the end of this month the crew had completed more than 200 flights, which amounted to €720,000.
ICRR chief operations officer Lynda Stopford said they were literally ‘flying’ through their cash and she appealed to the public for urgent help.
‘We need €250,000 by year end and €1m for 2020. It’s an expensive business, but at the same time it’s not a lot to save a life,’ she said.
The charity wants 5,000 people across the county to sign up to their monthly donations programme called ‘Mission Possible’.
‘We are asking people to donate €10 per month, or €2.50 per week – less than the cost of a cup of coffee. This support is essential to enable the service to continue to operate full-time,’ said Ms Stopford.
Highlighting the vital service, one parent told how, during a family holiday in West Cork in August, their son had a 25ft fall from a waterfall, and was in need of rapid medical help.
He made a full recovery after being airlifted by the ICRR chopper to hospital.
Ms Stopford said the North Cork-based air ambulance ‘is the difference between life and death, or between injury and life-changing injury’ for some patients.
Become an ICRR Lifesaver at www.icrr.ie.