If you crash your bike and injure yourself in the wilderness and it's not practical or possible to reach you by helicopter, you're likely to be waiting for a while as mountain rescue attempts to reach you on foot or by vehicle. As any First Aider will tell you, the moments after an accident are crucial and the longer it takes for help to arrive, the more serious your situation becomes.
That could all be about to change as UK mountain rescue paramedics are trialling using jet packs to help them access hard to reach patients in remote areas quicker than they could on foot.
As reported by the BBC
, the Great North Air Ambulance Service carried out a 2 day test recently in the Lake District that reconstructed a typical rescue scenario.
In the test that was carried out on September 8, a 25 minute climb was cut to just 90 seconds. This time saving could mean the difference between life and death as a first responder could locate and stabilise the patient much quicker than they could be reached by any other method.
Andy Mawson, director of operations at GNAAS, said: "There are dozens of patients every month within the complex but relatively small geographical footprint of the Lake [District]. We could see the need. What we didn't know for sure is how this would work in practice. Well we've seen it now and it is, quite honestly, awesome. If the idea takes off, the flying paramedic will be armed with a medical kit, with strong pain relief for [those] who may have suffered fractures, and a defibrillator for those who may have suffered a heart attack. In a jet pack, what might have taken up to an hour to reach the patient may only take a few minutes, and that could mean the difference between life and death."
The jet suit was designed and flown on the day by Richard Browning, founder of Gravity Industries and inventor of the system. It delivers 1050bhp of thrust, has a top speed in excess of 80mph and is capable of reaching an altitude of 12,000ft, although for safety purposes it is flown lower. The wearer has one engine on each arm and one on their back and they use their own balance to control the flight. The suit retails for £340,000 ($437,000 USD).
With the test complete, GNAAS and Gravity Industries are now exploring the next steps in this collaboration.Editor's Note: An earlier version of the article said the jetpack was £34,000, this has now been edited to reflect the correct price - £340,000