Jammed Saigon set to launch air ambulance service

Ho Chi Minh City is set to launch air ambulances to handle emergencies in Vietnam's largest city where traffic jams are the norm.

jammed saigon set to launch air ambulance service hinh 0
The Vietnam Helicopter Corporation has started drawing up a feasibility plan to use a helipad on top of a 36-story building on Nguyen Hue Street in the city's downtown.

The building, one of the 10 tallest in Vietnam, is the city's only private premises to be granted permission by the defense ministry to operate air ambulances.

Conventional ambulances are often unable to respond quickly to accidents in Ho Chi Minh City, where congestion is an everyday problem.

Vietnam imposes cash fines of VND500,000-1.2 million (US$22-53) on drivers who refuse to make way for emergency vehicles, but the law is rarely enforced. Many argue that during traffic jams, there's simply no space to give way to ambulances.

Various solutions have been suggested such as using ambulance motorbikes or having traffic police accompany ambulances to clear congestion.