Collier County EMS Helicopter (ABC Fort Myers photo)
Commissioners in Collier County, Fla., approved up to $10 million for the purchase of a new EMS helicopter. The decision comes after the community’s only emergency helicopter, a twin-engined Eurocopter EC-135T1, had to make an emergency landing at a Naples airport and was removed from service.
It will take an unspecified period of time for to repair that helicopter's engine before it can return to flight. The helicopter is twenty years old and because it is out of service, Lee County and Broward County will provide air support until their neighboring jurisdiction restores airborne EMS capability.
Collier County officials plan to being negotiations will begin with Airbus, manufacturer of the out-of-service EC-135. Plans are to purchase another helicopter of the same type to reduce pilot training requirements and speed the aircraft to service.