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Wed 30 Jan 2008 10:28 AM

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Flying doctors to soar in Saudi

A Saudi medical group plans to expand its air ambulance services to overcome the Kingdom's rough terrain.

A Saudi medical group plans to expand its air ambulance services to overcome the Kingdom's rough terrain.

Prince Faisal ibn Abdullah, the Saudi Red Crescent Society's president, said the organisation wants to provide medical care to people in remote areas.

"Air ambulance is one of the major projects we are working on and we intend to provide this service all over the country after the success of the experimental operations," Prince Faisal said.

He added that introducing the project quickly would help reduce road accident fatalities.

The group recently signed an agreement with the European Aero-Medical Institute to carry out studies on whether a country-wide air ambulance service is viable.

Meanwhile, Red Crescent officials are in talks with the Ministry of Finance to acquire air ambulances. But Prince Faisal denied reports that a deal with an aircraft company was signed during last year's Dubai Airshow.

"We have not yet identified the aircraft company for the purchase of the planes and the field is wide open," he said. No details concerning the project's costs or number of aircraft to be purchased were given.

Elsewhere, Prince Faisal praised 50 Saudi women that helped carry out Red Crescent's activities during the latest Haj. The women worked inside the Grand Mosque in Makkah, while 250 men were also on hand throughout the religious pilgrimage.

"We will encourage more volunteers of both sexes to work in the coming Haj seasons after giving them necessary training," Prince Faisal said.

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