UK Rescue Helicopter Group Grounds Aircraft

May 10, 2012

A leading British rescue helicopter group has grounded 22 of its aircraft following a safety alert, the company said Tuesday.

Bond Aviation Group spokesman Stephen Ballard said the problem stemmed from reports of cracks found in the rotor hub area of Eurocopter’s EC135 aircraft, a design popular with search-and-rescue services.

Ballard said his company had grounded its fleet of EC135s while it awaited more information about the nature of the potential problem from Eurocopter, a subsidiary of Dutch aerospace company EADS NV.

“Until such time as we get some clarity as to what the problem is we don’t want to fly the aircraft,” he said in a telephone interview.

The decision leaves large parts of the U.K. without any air rescue cover, the BBC reported. The broadcaster said the model was used by air rescue services in Scotland, Wales, and parts of England.

A call left with Eurocopter’s U.K. office was not immediately returned.

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