New Pine Belt air ambulance service begins operation

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The 10 member counties who had been served by the Southeast Mississippi Air Ambulance District's Rescue Seven now have a new primary provider.

Baptist Life Flight received word from the state Wednesday afternoon their license to operate had been approved. They were fully operational and ready for their first flight at 7 a.m. Thursday.

The Pensacola, Fla.-based service signed an agreement with SEMADD late last year to become the primary carrier for the 10 member counties. Rescue Seven, the helicopter service for the Pine Belt since 1971, will now serve strictly as a back-up.

The new service will operate within a 100-mile radius around Hattiesburg.

Both services will be based at the Bobby Chain Airport. Both will have full flight crews stationed at the airport at all times.