Belmont County officials revealed their first ever life flight helicopter on Saturday.
The Air Evac helicopter has been busy saving lives, flying from Martins Ferry, to local hospitals, and even to Columbus and Pittsburgh for about 2 weeks now.
On Saturday, the base was officially opened and the crew got to debut the new chopper.
“This gives our residents that live in Belmont County and the Ohio Valley an opportunity to have a great flight crew if they need to go to a critical care facility, now the ETA has been cut down, because they are right here in Martins Ferry,” Paul Riethmiller Mayor of Martins Ferry said.
There was a need for a local life flight, and this 24-7 base created 14 new jobs for the Ohio Valley.
One of those employees is John Saltarelli who has been a flight paramedic for 7 years. He says he is very used to the confined space, fast speed, and stressful situation.
“It’s very cramped, it’s a very small space, its about a half the size of a van ambulance,” Saltarelli said.
Riding with a pilot, a medic, and a nurse seems almost impossible in the small cabin, but Saltarelli says that they can perform all the same medical procedures as the ER. He went on to say it’s the love of saving lives that keeps him flying.
“I love seeing the patients afterwords, a few months down the road when they’ve recovered from a massive injury or a heart attack, or, and they come up the base and they say you know, we really appreciate what you guys do here, and you know, you’ve actually made a difference and impacted a life and a family.That’s the really rewarding part.”
Ohio State Representative Jack Cera gave congratulations from the Ohio House and Martins Ferry Mayor Riethmiller said it was a great day for their city.