Ventura County supervisors approve funds for new emergency helicopter

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VENTURA COUNTY, Calif. — The Ventura County Board of Supervisors this week unanimously approved funding for the purchase of a new helicopter that will expand search and rescue capabilities.

“You never think that they or their loved ones might need rescuing from dangerous situations, but it certainly does happen,” said board chair Carmen Ramirez.

“Now, due to the excellent state of the county’s finances and planning for the future, we have been able to purchase this new helicopter. I am so happy that we can support this effort.

The funds will be used to purchase a $14.5 million Bell 412EPX helicopter for the county’s aviation unit which will arrive in October, according to the county.

This particular model of helicopter offers advantages for aerial search and rescue missions conducted by the sheriff’s office.

As a commercial-grade aircraft, it has capabilities that will support search and rescue, medical evacuation, law enforcement missions and firefighting missions, according to the county.

“The aircraft’s small footprint, advanced technology, economical operating costs and low maintenance requirements compared to the rest of the fleet will provide significant value as we serve the residents of Ventura County,” said said Sheriff Bill Ayub.

“This will allow us to provide increased availability for emergency services in and around the county and even exceed the level of performance we need to operate safely and efficiently.”

The helicopter can carry up to 12,500 pounds, 14 passengers, 375 gallons of water and provides “outstanding performance” in high winds, hot weather and at high altitudes, the county said.

“Our combined sheriff and fire unit is a first-class air unit that is the envy of the entire state because of its quality, what it can do and because it is about a joint fire and sheriff unit,” the county chief executive said. Mike Powers.

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