A second emergency medical helicopter is now operational in London, thanks to generous contributions to the London’s Air Ambulance charity from the people and organisations of the capital.

The G-LNDN registered MD902 Explorer is available to deliver the London’s Air Ambulance advanced trauma team to critically injured patients, and is here in time to cover the charity’s current helicopter (G-EHMS) which has now gone offline for its annual maintenance.

Following the charity’s ‘Your London, Your Helicopter’ fundraising campaign last year to fund a second helicopter and extend its summer daylight flying hours for five years, £4 million was raised.

This allowed the charity to acquire the aircraft, convert the helicopter to meet aviation regulations and provide the same medical interior, and to cover some running costs for the extended service.

The new helicopter touched down and took off from the helipad on top of the royal London Hospital in Whiitechapel for the first time on Thursday (January 28) following an official launching ceremony.

The charity say that the cost of providing its service has increased to £6 million each year and donations are needed now more than ever to maintain the delivery of its 24/7 advanced trauma care.

'They really are life-savers'

London's Air Ambulance purchased the second helicopter thanks to their 'Your London, Your Helicopter' campaign
London's Air Ambulance purchased the second helicopter thanks to their 'Your London, Your Helicopter' campaign

Taking part in the celebration was London’s Air Ambulance ex-patient Andy, an on-duty police officer who was knocked off his motorcycle after being hit by a car which crossed into his lane on a roundabout last year.

The charity’s advanced trauma team were at his side in minutes thanks to the helicopter.

Andy said: "The immediate care I got at the side of the road was second to none and saved my life.

"Working on the Roads Policing Unit, I frequently go to fatal and serious injury collisions, but I never thought I'd be involved in a similar incident myself.

"Thankfully London’s Air Ambulance had an aircraft available at the time of my incident and came out to treat me. I am really pleased to see this day arrive, the second helicopter will make a real difference.

"My family and I would like to thank everyone who supports the charity and encourage you to continue to do so as they really are life-savers.”

READ MORE: Find out how many patients London's Air Ambulance treated in your area

Through the acquisition of a second helicopter and by extending its daylight flying hours in the summer months, the charity estimates it will be able to reach a further 400 patients per year by aircraft.

Last year, the charity flew longer hours in the summer months for the first time in its history and, as a result, it was able to reach, and treat, a further 67 patients by air.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “This is a momentous feat for London, for Londoners and for the dedicated healthcare professionals of London’s Air Ambulance. It reinforces my pride in the capital.

“The delivery of a second emergency medical helicopter is down to the dedication, determination and generosity of countless individuals and organisations across London.

“Without them this wouldn't have been possible."