Motorists slowed on U.S. Hwy. 27/441 and a small crowd gathered in the parking lot of the Fruitland Park Plaza on Monday morning to watch a medical helicopter that was dispatched to transport an ill patient.
Fruitland Park Police officers and crews from Fruitland Park Fire Rescue and Lake County Fire Rescue blocked off a section of the parking lot for the Air Care chopper from Orlando Health to set down in front of the NY Deli & Diner and the Dollar General store. The patient, a woman suffering from a medical condition, was being cared for in a nearby Lake EMS ambulance.
The medical crew from the air ambulance quickly climbed into the back of the ambulance to assess the patient and a short time later, the woman was being transferred onto a different gurney and then loaded through the back section of the running helicopter.
The pilot quickly revved the engine as the air medics climbed aboard and the helicopter slowly took off and made a sweeping turn to head north, presumably to a hospital in Ocala or Gainesville.
The Air Care Team began operations on Oct. 13, 1984 and completed their first scene flight and patient flight about a month later. Since then, the team has flown more than 27,000 patients with more than 1.7 million accident-free rescue mission miles.