Life-saving helicopter now located at OAJ Airport


A life saving helicopter is now stationed at the Onslow County airport, and it’s improving your access to quality hospital care.

The location of New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s Airlink Helicopter at OAJ means better response times to area hospitals honoring that golden hour.

The team of a pilot, critical care paramedic and flight nurse can take off in 10 minutes and transport patients to Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune or Onslow Memorial Hospital in 10 minutes as well. Travel time was cut in half for both of those locations.

“It puts us accessible by request by Onslow EMS to respond right to the scene of an emergency be it a car crash or any other type of a traumatic injury,” John Popella, Dir. Airlink/Vitalink NHRMC, said.

The aircraft was housed at an airfield in Holly Ridge for the last several years. It began operation out of OAJ on Monday.

“OAJ offers enhanced capabilities as far as all-weather, and also the fact that Onslow EMS is located here on the airport helps create a lot of synergies,” Chris White, Dir. OAJ airport, said.

The faster the access to care, Popella says, the more likely a positive outcome for trauma patients in the community.

“You can prevent long-term injuries and you can minimize injury due to time, loss of blood and tissue necrosis,” Popella said.

On board the aircraft are the latest advancements in critical care from blood products to cardiac monitors and even a special base that can be completely transferred to the standby Airlink.

The Airlink will also provide patient access to both Duplin and Sampson counties.


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