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RAF helicopter called to airlift pregnant woman to hospital during Frome snow chaos

By Somerset Standard  |  Posted: January 24, 2013

The Sea King helicopter pictured during the operation to transfer the pregnant woman from Frome to the Royal United Hospital at Bath. Photo: Ian Humphreys

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The snow forced an emergency air evacuation for a pregnant woman who was suffering complications on Friday and had to be flown to Bath’s Royal United Hospital in a RAF Sea King helicopter.

The dramatic rescue operation began at about 8am on Friday morning after several inches of snow had fallen.

The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, was in labour at Frome Community Hospital birthing unit when she started having complications.

An ambulance was called but was unable to get through because of the heavy snow.

The decision was made to call in the Sea King helicopter, which had flown from RAF Chivenor, in North Devon, to collect the woman.

The Somerset Standard spoke to the co-pilot of the Sea King for the operation, Flight Lieutenant Dom Sanderson, who said the snowy conditions made the rescue much slower than normal.

He said: “We were scrambled to go to Frome to pick up a woman in labour who was having complications.

“It took us about an hour to get to her. Visibility was poor and we had to be very careful due to the conditions.

“The rear crew were able to get things ready for the patient and we got her to Bath in about 15 minutes. It was a successful operation.”

A spokeswoman for Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said mother and baby were now at home doing well. She said: “A midwife visited them earlier this week.

“We would like to thank the RAF for their support during the adverse weather.”

Frome Fire Service station commander, Ian Humphreys, said his crews were called in to assist where they could.

He said: “We were called to assist the paramedic crews, help carry the patient, and to ensure the safe arrival and departure of the helicopter which was all completed successfully with good liaison with all the emergency services.”

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