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Posted: Thursday, July 17th, 2014 12:20 PM HST

New medical helicopter brings night capabilities

By Associated Press

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) Patients in west Hawaii who need to be transferred to hospitals on Oahu and Maui from the Big Island now have a faster helicopter transport.

West Hawaii Today says the Eurocopter EC135 was unveiled Tuesday at Kona Community Hospital.

The helicopter is equipped with night vision and navigational aids lacking in a previous aircraft used by Life Flight Hawaii. The new helicopter also can carry heavier loads.

Previously, night transfers involved transporting patients to the airport, taking them off-island on a Life Flight airplane, and then taking them by ambulance again to their destination.

That process could take four hours. Hospital CEO Jay Kreuzer says with the new helicopter, the same transport can take a little over an hour or a little under an hour, depending on the destination.

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