MEDICAL assistance from the air will be fully covered for the Grand Depart weekend with the Yorkshire Air Ambulance operating a third aircraft.

Due to the huge increase in visitors and activity, YAA will introduce the third helicopter to assist the two currently in operation on July 5 and 6.

YAA chief pilot Captain Andy Lister said: “During the summer months, we always see an increase in our operational activities. As the population swells with tourists and local residents being on holiday, the likelihood of accidents happening increases, and in many cases, the air ambulance needs to be utilised.

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“Although the Tour de France provides their own medical assistance for competitors, there will be the spectators and the local people who live along the route.

“There will also be access problems with roads being closed as well as much of the route travelling through remote areas of Yorkshire where access can also sometimes be problematic.

Captain Lister added “We have been extremely fortunate to have been offered great support from some local land owners who been very kind to allow us an area of their land to operate our helicopters.

“On day one, we will be near Richmond at Wathgill Camp, and on day two we will be close to the village of Ripponden near Halifax.”

The third helicopter is being provided by Medical Aviation Services at no extra cost to the charity.

Anyone interested in supporting the Yorkshire Air Ambulance during the Grand Départ can contact 01422-237900.