A US Air Force CV-22B Osprey tiltrotor destroyed a UK hospital helipad during takeoff on Wednesday, leaving the medical facility unable to receive patients directly via air ambulance helicopters.
The moment was captured on video; the warbird completely blew away the helipad’s plating during takeoff.
A Cambridge University Hospitals spokesperson told ITV that while the destroyed helipad is undergoing repair, air ambulances will have to land at Cambridge City Airport and then transport patients to the hospital using ordinary ambulances so that the hospital “can continue to see and treat them as normal”.
East Anglian Air Ambulance Medical Director Dr. Inyang also confirmed the incident and noted that: "Addenbrooke’s is the major trauma centre for the region, therefore quick and efficient transfer of critically ill or injured patients to the hospital is vital".
A spokesperson for the Air Force's 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Mildenhall said that “the area was surveyed according to our policies and procedures and some damage did occur".
RAF Mildenhall is also home to the Air Force's 352nd Special Operations Wing, which includes the 7th Special Operations Squadron, equipped with the Ospreys.
This is not the first time the CV-22B has caused havoc on the ground; the downward force generated by the aircraft’s rotors is known to be dangerous: in 2010 a US Marine Corps Osprey injured 10 people during an event on Memorial Day in Clove Lakes Park on Staten Island in New York City, sending debris into the crowd while on landing approach.
Also, Ospreys were restricted during disaster relief operations after the massive Nepal earthquake in 2015 due to concerns that the wind stream from their rotors could knock down already structurally weakened buildings.