08/05/2012 17:45 BST

Air Ambulances Across Britain Grounded After Dangerous Fault Found

Air ambulances covering large parts of the UK have been grounded after a fault was found which could cause them to crash.

Flights of 22 Eurocopter EC 135 helicopters have been suspended as a precaution, operator Bond Air Services said, following the discovery of a fault in an air ambulance in Scotland last month.

A crack was discovered on the main rotor hub of one helicopter, prompting a safety warning by the European Aviation Safety Agency (Easa).

Bond said Eurocopter had advised pre and post-flight checks after the fault was discovered but Bond had now decided to halt flights until further notice on safety grounds.

"The company's first priority is safety and it has reported its decision to suspend the flights of the EC 135 to Eurocopter and awaits further comment from Eurocopter once they have completed their investigation," a spokesman said.

About 1,000 of the craft are in use around the world, including air ambulance services in England, Scotland and Wales.

In England, the model is in use at Thames Valley and Chiltern; North West; Midlands; Dorset and Somerset; Hampshire and Isle of Wight; and Devon, according to the Association of Air Ambulances.