Two air ambulances covering Norfolk and Suffolk have been grounded after a defect was discovered in three similar aircraft.

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The East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) charity, which has its headquarters at Norwich Airport, says it has taken the precautionary measure to temporarily halt the use of its two Eurocopter 135s pending advice from the manufacturer.

Three instances of cracks developing to a flange below the rotor blade have been discovered.

The Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust will provide emergency cover in the region.

An EAAA spokesman said: “Bond Air Services is awaiting further advice from Eurocopter, the manufacturer of the aircraft, once investigations to identify the cause of the cracks have been carried out.

“There are no faults with the rotor hub on either of the East Anglian Air Ambulance helicopters.

“People in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk remain covered with emergency medical assistance by our colleagues at the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust.

“Our own crews of specialist doctor and EEAST critical care paramedic are continuing to provide emergency cover from our rapid response vehicles.

“We will issue more news as we get it, but at present this is all we know.

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