BTA News

Health Minister Presents First Bulgarian Helicopter Emergency Medical Services, Expresses Satisfaction with Job Well Done

Health Minister Hristo Hinkov Friday officially presented the first Bulgarian Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS). He expressed his satisfaction with a job well done on the way to “the most important mission – the health of the Bulgarian citizens”.

Hinkov also expressed confidence that the opportunities that medical air transport will provide will take Bulgaria’s emergency care system to a new high-quality level. Modern technologies and professionally trained pilots, medical teams and operators will contribute to this, Hinkov said. They will coordinate and carry out the transportation of patients, equipment, blood, organs and medicines, he added.

The first helicopter from the newly established Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) system arrived yesterday in Bulgaria. The machine was manufactured by the Italian Leonardo company and was acquired with European funding.

The helicopter is the first of a total of six. According to the schedule, the second helicopter, scheduled for the operational base in Dolna Mitropolia, northern Bulgaria, should arrive at the end of June 2024, and the third machine, which will be available at the operational base in Sliven, east central Bulgaria, is expected in December. The remaining air ambulances will arrive in stages until 2026.

The first six Bulgarian pilots who completed training in Italy have already received their brevets, certificates of flying ability. They were handed to them personally by Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov at a ceremony in December.

A total of 36 pilots and 14 engineers are expected to work in the air ambulance system. On board the helicopter there will also be medical personnel who are already undergoing the relevant training. In February, the helicopter will participate in real rescue missions.

Today’s ceremony at the Border Police airbase at Sofia Airport, where the helicopter is temporarily deployed, was attended also by Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov, Sofia Mayor Vasil Terziev, Transport and Communications Minister Georgi Gvozdeikov and other officials.