NorthFlight ending helicopter service in Tuscaloosa

NorthFlight ending helicopter service in Tuscaloosa
(Source: Kelvin Reynolds/WBRC)

TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - The helicopter ambulance service known around Tuscaloosa as NorthFlight will end Monday morning.

NorthStar EMS says the company that actually owns the helicopter is ending a contract with them because the chopper isn't transporting enough patients to warrant the cost of keeping the service here.

NorthFlight won't be flying around Tuscaloosa after Monday morning.

"People concerned about being able to a tertiary facility if necessary," Edgar Calloway, Operations Director for NorthStar EMS Service, said to WBRC.

Air Methods Corporation notified NorthStar almost 60 days ago that it was ending the contract they agreed to four and a half years ago.

NorthStar provided the medical personnel who worked on patients being transported by helicopter.

"So if we needed to use air medical services on the ground in Tuscaloosa, it would take us about 25 minutes to get a helicopter from a neighboring county," Calloway said.

Pilots were limited by weather that prevents them from safely flying to some medical emergencies.

"We'll continue to provide the ground service that we've provided for the past 26 years in the counties we're responsible for covering," Calloway said.

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