Derriford Hospital bans Coastguard helicopters from landing there after tragedy

The Coastguard helicopter was banned from landing at Derriford Hospital after a woman was fatally injured by the draft from a landing plane.

A car park near the heliport was also closed as a precaution after the death yesterday of Jean Langan, 87.

She and another woman in her 80s were knocked down when a Coastguard helicopter landed at the helipad just after 11am on Friday, police said.

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Ms Langan suffered a fatal head injury and the other victim broke her pelvis when she was hit by a swinging car door.

Bosses at Derriford Hospital today confirmed the heliport will remain open for victims – but larger planes such as the Coastguard helicopter are expected to land elsewhere and patients will be transferred by road.

A spokesperson for University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, said: “Our hearts go out to everyone affected by this incident and we are working with the Air Accident Investigation Branch to support their investigation. .

“The Derriford Hospital heliport remains open to receive injured people.

“However, larger planes such as the Coastguard helicopter land elsewhere in Plymouth and patients from these planes are then transported from Plymouth to Derriford Hospital by road ambulance.

“As a precaution, parking lot B has been closed to patients and visitors.”

Coastguard helicopter at the scene of a rescue

It was not stated where the larger planes would land, but it is not believed to include Devon and Cornwall air ambulances.

Helicopters sometimes landed at nearby Marjon University or even the now closed Plymouth Airport before the heliport opened in 2015.

Parking lot B surrounds the landing site at the front of the hospital.

Devon and Cornwall Police today said their initial find showed Ms Langan was on a nearby footpath when she was knocked down by the airstream from the helicopter.

The second woman was struck by a car door in the parking lot. She remains stable in hospital with a broken pelvis.

A file is being prepared for the coroner and an inquest will follow.

One person has died and another is being treated for his injuries

Detective Inspector Andy Hodges said: “Our role now is to assist in the investigation which is currently being carried out by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch.

“This is a tragic incident, and our hearts go out to everyone affected by what happened yesterday at Derriford.”

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency, which runs the coastguard, had previously refused to confirm where its helicopters were landing.

A spokesperson said: “An HM Coastguard helicopter was transporting a patient to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth on Friday March 4.

“When he landed there was an incident which is currently being investigated by Devon and Cornwall Police and the Air Accident Investigation Branch.

“Our hearts go out to everyone affected by yesterday’s incident.”

Detective Inspector Andy Hodges (centre) released details of the tragic incident at Derriford Hospital
Detective Inspector Andy Hodges (centre) released details of the tragic incident at Derriford Hospital

Jean’s niece Gael Hill said she was taking her aunt for a hospital appointment when tragedy struck.

She added that she was with her “before, during and after” the horror ordeal.

Gael said she was not seriously injured and “just had various aches and pains” this morning.

Gael, who Jean lived with for over a decade, told The Sun: “Despite her age, Jean was very physically active, she walked for miles, she liked to keep herself busy.

“She was a loving mother of one son and four grandchildren, whom she treasured.

“She had many nieces and nephews and she had a very generous nature.

“Jean lived with me for 10 years or more, she loved seeing my children and grandchildren during their visits, it gave her great pleasure to interact with the little ones.”