Conway Airport cuts ribbon on medical helicopter operation

The new Air Methods helicopter based at the Conway Airport (Source: Stephanie Robusto)
The new Air Methods helicopter based at the Conway Airport (Source: Stephanie Robusto)
Source: Stephanie Robusto
Source: Stephanie Robusto

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – Air medical transport company Air Methods cut the ribbon on a new base of operations at the Conway Airport Monday morning.

Air Methods, a company that has over 300 operations in 48 states, has been providing air medical transport services since 1980, according to a news release from Myrtle Beach International Airport.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at 11 a.m. Monday at the Conway Airport, located at 1700 Airport Road in Conway.

"We can significantly decrease the amount of time they spend outside the hospital by providing rapid transport," said Keith Dean, the Medical Base Supervisor for LifeNet 6.

Keith Dean explained the chopper can transport a patient at about 120 miles per hour, cutting down transportation time to 15 to 20 minutes to get a patient to the hospital.

It's not just speed that makes it vital in an emergency situation, but also the fact that it can travel over traffic and straight to the ER.

"This is a wonderful place during the summer time, but it's also very, very busy and it can take a long time to go a short distance with traffic. The traffic doesn't hamper us at all in getting someone to Grand Strand Regional," said Chip Sovick, the regional Vice President for Air Methods, the parent company to LifeNet.

Air Methods provides air medical transportation nationwide. Here in South Carolina, the group is called LifeNet and currently has six bases in the Palmetto State.

The newest, LifeNet 6, officially opened Monday morning during the ribbon cutting.

The crew is made up of flight paramedics and nurses with extensive backgrounds in the medical field. Many of them working as paramedics before taking this life-saving job.

The aircraft provides critical care to patients in life-threatening situations. On top of having qualified emergency responder on board, the craft also carries different medication and equipment than found on a regular ambulance.

The majority of Air Methods's fleet is made up of American Eurocopters and Bell Helicopters, but the company does operate several airplanes.

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