New Lifeline: Air Ambulance Service Sets Up in Weslaco

June 20, 2022

Jun. 18—WESLACO — The Rio Grande Valley now has access to emergency air medical services with the opening of AirLift Texas.

Air Methods opened its newest base in Weslaco at the Mid Valley Airport on June 1.

The company currently has an Eurocopter EC130, a single-engine, light utility helicopter with nearly 1,000-horsepower, based out of the Weslaco location, which will provide emergency medical services from Roma to South Padre Island.

"We'll be covering the whole Valley," Dunstin Ross, national float flight paramedic at Air Methods, said. "Weslaco is sort of centrally located — halfway between McAllen and Harlingen. It also gives us access to South Padre Island, which is really isolated with traffic — especially with one bridge, one way in and one way out."

The helicopter is able to transport patients to hospitals throughout the Rio Grande Valley and South Texas — cutting travel time to San Antonio to approximately an hour and 30 minutes.

"We'll be providing critical care services for the whole Valley," Ross said. "We're not specifically contracted with any sort of hospital or EMS services. We're here to partner with everybody in the Valley and the surrounding regions."

The crew provides services for obstetrics and high-risk obstetrics, pediatric care, as well as medical and trauma care for adult patients.

"It's really an all encompassing critical care asset," Ross said. "We're pretty much applying (emergency room) and (intensive care unit), and we're able to bring that care expeditiously to the patient."

The crew has access to chest tubes for surgical airways as well as other advanced procedures called for in emergency situations. By the end of the month, the aircraft will be carrying two units of whole blood — or red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets suspended in plasma.

"It's really a great asset to the community," Ross said. "This is a huge population, especially with the documented and undocumented of the Valley. It's really populous, so by adding more assets we're really able to serve a great number of the population and help them out."

The crew of each flight is made up of a pilot, a flight paramedic and a flight nurse. Each pilot must have 2,500 hours of flight time prior to working with Air Methods. Clinicians are required to have a minimum of three years experience as a nurse or a paramedic in the emergency room of the intensive care unit, or a high-volume EMS service.

The Weslaco crew currently consists of four pilots, four paramedics, four nurses, and two mechanics.

The company also provides outreach education courses for the public. The courses are presented by local flight paramedics and flight nurses, and cover a number of topics including pediatric respiratory emergencies, vascular emergencies, congestive heart failure, and stroke management, among others.

More information about the outreach education courses can be found by contacting [email protected] or visiting

The company will be hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, June 30, at 10 a.m. The event will be held at Knapp Medical Center, located at 1401 E. 8th Street in Weslaco, and is free and open to the public.

[email protected]


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