Helijet celebrates 15 years of Santa flights

Helijet Chief Pilot Mike Potter poses with BC Ambulance Service Infant Transport Team Paramedic Ray Sims, Santa, Elf (Sabrina Preziosa), pilot Bree Stotts, Helijet President and CEO Danny Sitnam (photo: Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation).

Canadian helicopter company Helijet is celebrating 15 years of transporting Santa to visit sick children in British Columbia hospitals.

This year, the Jolly Old Elf visited children in five hospitals Tuesday, bringing a welcome respite to stressful times.

“Infant Transport Team paramedics help care for and transport babies and young children with acute or traumatic emergency health needs to hospital, so reunions like this are extra special for all of us,” said paramedic Ray Sims. He was a member of the first Infant Transport Team in 1976 to provide specialized paramedic care to the province’s youngest patients.

Travelling with the Santa flights allows him to see children in a different environment.

“It’s incredibly rewarding to see all of these young patients as their faces light up and they visit with Santa,” he said.

“Helijet is proud to work every day with BC Emergency Health Services and its paramedics to provide 24/7 helicopter service for thousands of critically ill patients across the province,” said Helijet President and Chief Executive Officer Danny Sitnam.

“Our sincere hope is that these visits bring a small measure of happiness to children who are spending the holidays away from home. Our dedicated staff at Helijet has helped fly Santa for the past 15 years and we’re delighted to do it.”

Helijet operates its Air Ambulance service along the Coast under contract to the province of British Columbia.

Santa delivers toys to children December 17, 2019 (photo: Helijet).

The first Santa flight happened in 2005, when Santa stepped aboard a Helijet air ambulance to deliver presents to a paediatric ward in the Vancouver area.