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Back in the air, STARS rushes girl to hospital

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The STARS helicopter was grounded in early December.

TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Enlarge Image

The STARS helicopter was grounded in early December. Photo Store

More than three months after being grounded, the province's Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society (STARS) helicopter air ambulance returned to the air Thursday to rush a girl with a head injury to hospital in Winnipeg.

The student, who suffered the injury while snow tubing during a school trip to the Falcon Ridge Ski and Recreation Area, was flown to Children's Hospital in Winnipeg by STARS after being assessed by paramedics at the scene with the Southern Health Region.

"We responded to the call," STARS spokesman Colin Fast said Friday. "It's the first mission since the suspension was lifted. The crew said the call went well and they were happy to be back up in the air."

The province suspended STARS in early December after three critical incidents in less than a year including the death of a woman who had suffered cardiac arrest three days earlier.

Each of the incidents involved intubation and oxygen delivery issues.

Following an external review, the province lifted the grounding last week, but said for now STARS could only fly emergency patients and not move critical patients from hospital to hospital.

Last year, STARS received a 10-year contract worth about $10 million per year from the provincial government. STARS, which is a not-for-profit organization, also receives donations from individuals and the community and holds a lottery.

Fast said the student was injured at about 3:40 p.m.

Her condition was not known Friday.

Barb Hamilton, owner of the skiing facility, said the girl was injured "at the end of the day."

"There was a collision at the bottom. One student didn't move away fast enough and one tube ran into the other."

Hamilton said the girl was part of a school trip from a school in southeastern Manitoba.

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 15, 2014 A7

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