Starkville may become new base for medical helicopter

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – Air ambulances and medical helicopters save lives every day.

The Association of Air Medical Services reports more than 550,000 patients use air ambulance services every year.

These emergency services are often needed when a patient needs to be transported to a trauma center or has life-threatening injuries that smaller hospitals may not be equipped to handle.

WCBI met with the mayor of Starkville, Lynn Spruill, about the steps she’s taking to make the city a landing pad for the region’s closest medical helicopter.

The city of Starkville is collaborating with Mississippi State University and other entities to land grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

The government funds would be used to build a hangar at the George Bryan Airport that would serve as a base for a medical helicopter.

“My understanding is that the helicopter is located right now at the Golden Triangle Regional Airport and that they were interested in moving,” said Spruill.

Spruill said the possible move from Lowndes County to Starkville could benefit all parties.

“Those jobs that were created are out at the airport at this point, but if this were to occur and the grant was provided, then we would see them move in this direction but it’s all to benefit the region,” said Spruill.

She said she hoped Bryan Airport could be the new base for the helicopter.

“There’s a lot more activity at Golden Triangle Region, and of course, Starkville is a part of that. We don’t want to be seen as poaching cause we are part of that but they felt that this would be a better fit for them and what they do. Maybe the in and out of this airport maybe exceeded that of getting out of the Golden Triangle,” said Spruill.

The grants have not been approved yet. We will keep you updated as the process continues.

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