Strabane ambulance for Foyle rescue

An ambulance from Strabane was the only one available to come to the aid of a man pulled from the water by Foyle Search and Rescue, it has emerged.

The rescue crew had to wait for the emergency vehicle to arrive after rescueing a young man from the river on Wednesday evening.

A paramedic was on the scene when the rescue boat pulled up at the Foyle Serach and Rescue pontoon beside the Derry City Council office on the west bank of the river but it was not until the man was brought ashore that the ambulance arrived to take him to hospital.

Foyle MLA Pat Ramsey says accident cover is the city is becoming a major concern, especially after the case of a Galliagh woman who died last summer when an ambulance took more than quarter of an hour to arrive.

“These circumstances mirror the events of last year when a woman died waiting on an ambulance,” he said.

“There was nearly a tragedy again in this city and I wonder what would have happened had someone else required an ambulance at the same time as this incident if the nearest one available was from Strabane.”

A spokesman for the Ambulance Service said: “NIAS despatched a Rapid Response Paramedic, who arrived at the scene within four minutes, and the nearest available A&E vehicle which was located in Strabane.

“Both A&E vehicles stationed in the city were engaged in other emergency activity at the time of this incident. However the crew responding to an accident became available within ten minutes and was despatched to the river scene allowing the Strabane crew to stand down from the call.”