The helicopter used in Johnson’s San Andreas movie is used to help train SA Ambulance MedStar team!

You probably remember the chopper used in Johnson’s San Andreas movie?! If yes, then you will be glad to hear that it was not just a movie prop. It is actually used to save lives in South Australia. The Bell 412 chopper, from the movie, is still in the service and it is being used as a training simulator for SA Ambulance’s 100-strong MedStar and Special Ops emergency medical retrieval team.

What you probably didn’t know is that the chopper had an unfortunate accident during a rough landing which led to the fuselage being damaged. It was rushed to the repair shop, and in January it made it to its new home at SA Ambulance MedStar’s, which is next to Adelaide Airport. Chris Marlow who is a special Ops rescue retrieval paramedic and trainer said that it is a great thing that they can now simulate training “from A to Z” without putting a strain to one of their three working MedStar choppers. He added, “For the registrars (doctors and nurses), who rotate every six months, their stress levels would be reduced significantly if their first ride was in training and not in the air.”

Just FYI, the training these people go through isn’t easy nevermind where you go through it- the ground or the air. The training, according to nurse and educator Sharon Paddock, is very rigorous and the staff goes through simulation of various scenarios and some of those include what could go wrong when they are airborne, which also covers the possibility of power and oxygen failure in the chopper. Sharon stated “We really get to everything that could go wrong, so that when it does happen we know what to do. It’s about muscle memory.”

The training area for the chopper crew is set up as a mockup that contains a car and several fake hospital rooms that help prepare the staff for the response at a crash site, at a hospital and retrieving patients in difficult terrains. This, according to Mr. Marlow, allows emergency crews to mimic worst-case scenarios under what they refer to “controlled environment.” He stated that “The whole idea of the mock-up is that we could do the entire job under a simulation. We’d come to vehicle rescue, extricate a patient, get back into the helicopter with the patient, then have radio communications to emergency departments at the RAH or Flinders. When we get to the hospital, we can go straight to those (mock-up) rooms and deal with trauma patients.”

The space in the helicopter allows for two stretchers and a maximum of five crew members, including a pilot. This chopper is, basically, the same as a working MedStar one and has the same communications system, except one thing. It is bladeless. Since this is the same chopper from the movie San Andreas, SA Ambulance Service tried Tweeting about it on multiple occasions in order to get some kind of response from Johnson, the same guy that used to “pilot” it in the movie.

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Miloš Kalajdžić
My name is Miloš Kalajdžić and I come from Brčko DC in Bosnia. I was born on July 20 th 1988 and so far I obtained a BSc in economics and one year of working experience in my field of study. I am a very hard-working person who leaves nothing unfinished and halfway done. When I commit to something I give my best to make sure that everything is done the way as it is supposed to be. I like cars and everything that comes with them. My passion are American muscle cars, but unfortunately the closest I managed to come near one is behind my laptop watching an image of the new Chevy or Dodge and writing about it. But that’s ok I’m still optimistic. When I’m not behind the laptop writing I’m on the streets and auto shows admiring all stuff rolling on four wheels being propelled by a petrol engine!