HONOLULU AIRPORT (KHNL): Hawaii Air Ambulance has been transporting on average 37,000 serious injured and critically ill patients a year since 1978. The company suffered serious losses after a plane crash killed three of its employees two months ago. The life-saving responder just received a new aircraft, a 1999 King Air C90-B and has hired a new management team.
Chief flight nurse Anita Lucas-Legg inspects the new plane. It has a lot of room and is fully equipped with medical supplies.
"I'm just excited because its like having a new car." says Lucas-Legg.
She and the other crew members feel safe in this plane and are not afraid to fly.
"The same risks exist for anybody," says Lucas-Legg.
Two months ago, an air ambulance plane crashed on Maui killing everyone on board: the pilot, medic and a nurse. In February 2004, three people who were on their way to pick-up a patient were also killed in a crash near Hilo.
"We just needed to take a step back and look at the situation," says Air Ambulance president Joe Hunt
The company has since made some major changes. A new senior management team was brought in from mainland along with three new planes from Wichita, Kansas. Each plane cost roughly two-million dollars.
"Were starting a new phase which is a 24-hour service in hilo. were upgrading that service," says Air Ambulance chairman and CEO Andy Kluger.
"Patients were waiting eight, ten, twelve hours for air ambulance to pick them up. My goal is get that eight to ten hour wait down to sixty minutes or less," says Hunt.
For Anita Lucas-Legg, her job now gives her peace of mind.
"I guess until god tells me its time for me to stop," says Lucas-Legg.