Brent Bidston is the lead pilot and president of Angel Flight East Kootenay. Photo Submitted

Angel Flight takes to the skies once more

Angel Flight East Kootenay is once again offering free flights to Kelowna for medical appointments

Angel Flight East Kootenay is once again offering free flights to residents with medical appointments in Kelowna.

Brent Bidston, lead pilot and president of Angel Flight East Kootenay said that the organization was forced to ground flights due to the pandemic earlier this year.

“We closed down because of COVID-19 but in actual fact it didn’t have much effect because everybody had their appointments cancelled so nobody was going anyways but now that they are beginning to ease restrictions… people are beginning to get appointments again.”

On May 13, Interior Health announced that beginning May 19, elective surgeries that were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic will resume. Since many surgeries were cancelled or postponed, and travel between municipalities strongly discouraged, Angel Flight found themselves without clients early on in the pandemic.

Now, with the resumption of medical appointments and surgeries, they are happy to announce they are once again offering flights. The charity will be following strict guidelines from Transport Canada and various medical professionals.

To begin with, there is a series of questions that potential clients must answer before qualifying for a flight.

“We ask them the obvious questions to hopefully rule out that they’ve got COVID-19 and then they have to wear a mask to walk through the airport and to get on to the airplane,” explained Bidston.

In order to be eligible for a flight with Angel Flight, clients must not present any symptoms of COVID-19, including a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing. The clients must also not be under quarantine order because of recent travel.

Since the Cessna 182 used by Angel Flight is not a large plane, stringent disinfecting measures will be used and personal protective equipment will be required. Clients will put on their mask, sanitize their hands and keep the mask on for the duration of the flight. After having sanitized their hands, Bidston said “the idea is that if they do touch things, they shouldn’t leave anything behind.”

Already the charity has scheduled two flights for the end of the month and Bidston thinks that things will start to gently pick up from there as more appointments are rescheduled and more restrictions are lifted.

In the meantime, the charity, which relies heavily on donations, has seen a drastic drop in donated funds. According to Bidston, donations almost “stopped dead” once the pandemic hit. There have been some donations trickling in but nothing compared to the community support that they’ve seen pouring in since they launched last year.

“Most of our donations come from people running events and obviously we can’t run any events right now,” Bidston noted.

For those who are looking to either donate or book a flight with Angel Flight East Kootenay, you can visit their website at Angelflightek.ca.



editor@thefreepress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

charityCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Summer Stories Around Town program encourages outdoor reading in Elk Valley

With storywalks and clothesline stories in Fernie and Sparwood, everyone can get reading

School District 5 identifies funding needs in yearly budget report

The SD5 board presented three main projects that need increased funding in the coming years

From baseball stars to forest fires: Southeast Fire Centre water bomber has an interesting past

Tanker 489 is stationed in Castlegar this year, but in the 1960s it belonged to the L.A. Dodgers.

Student athletes recognized for outstanding seasons

Fernie Secondary School students got their awards in a drive by ceremony last week

The Elk Valley celebrates Canada Day

Creative socially distant Canada Day festivities were held in both Fernie and Sparwood this week

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Lower Mainland YouTubers claim to be Kelowna display toilet ‘poopers’

RCMP can not speak to legitimacy of video, will be investigating

Haida matriarchs occupy ancient villages as fishing lodges reopen to visitors

‘Daughters of the rivers’ say occupation follows two fishing lodges reopening without Haida consent

Conservatives say police should be called into investigate WE charity scandal

Trudeau is already under investigation by the ethics commissioner for potential conflict of interest

Amber Alert continues for missing Quebec girls, 6 and 11, and their father

Police issued the alert for Norah Carpentier, 11, and Romy Carpentier, 6, from Levis, Que.

Most Read