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A new jet suit designed to be used by paramedics could save countless lives.
More than a year since discussions began between the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) and Gravity Industries over the game-changing piece of kit, the suit has finally been tested out in the Lake District.
Andy Mawson, director of operations at GNAAS, came up with the idea for the jet pack, which he says could reduce the time it usually takes a first responder to get to a patient stuck in the fells from 25 minutes to just 90 seconds, with the jet pack reaching speeds of up to 85mph.
Speaking to the BBC about the test flight and its implications, he said: "There are dozens of patients every month within the complex but relatively small geographical footprint of the Lakes.
"We could see the need. What we didn't know for sure is how this would work in practice. Well we've seen it now and it is, quite honestly, awesome."
Mr Mawson told the news site that it's vital emergency workers can get to people in need as quickly as possible and that this new device could be the difference between life and death.
He said: "The biggest advantage is its speed.
"If the idea takes off, the flying paramedic will be armed with a medical kit, with strong pain relief for walkers who may have suffered fractures, and a defibrillator for those who may have suffered a heart attack.
"In a jet pack, what might have taken up to an hour to reach the patient may only take a few minutes, and that could mean the difference between life and death."
Mr Mawson told the News and Star the suit was about supporting healthcare professionals and emergency workers by giving them new tools to treat those in need.
He said: "In a time in healthcare when we are exhausted with Covid and its effects, it's important to still push the boundaries.
"Our aircraft will remain a vital part of the emergency response in this terrain, as will the fantastic mountain rescue teams. But this is about looking at supplementing those resources with something completely new."
The test flight was carried out by the founder of Gravity Industries, Richard Browning.
He went on to explain that this was just the start of the journey for the jet suit and said he was proud to be a part of it.
Mr Browning said: "It was wonderful to be invited to explore the capabilities of the Gravity Jet Suit in an emergency response simulation and work alongside the team at GNAAS.
"We are just scratching the surface in terms of what is possible to achieve with our technology.
"Emergency response is one of the areas Gravity are actively pursuing, alongside launching a new commercial training location at the world-renowned Goodwood Estate."
It's understood that GNAAS and Gravity Industries are now looking at new ways to advance their collaboration.
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