WILTSHIRE Air Ambulance's emergency helicopter has been grounded for the forseeable future, after the company operating it went into liquidation.

The air ambulance charity's Bell 429 helicopter had been operated by Heli Charter since 2014. The Kent-based firm went into voluntary liquidation on Monday, saying the investment needed to sustain and grow the business meant it was not economically viable to continue trading.

Heli Charter's collapse has left Wiltshire Air Ambulance without a helicopter. For the time being, the Semington charity's paramedics will attend emergency calls in two rapid response cars. 

A spokesman for Wiltshire Air Ambulance said: "We have been made aware of the difficult events at Heli Charter, our Air Operator Certificate holder. 

"At this time we express our sympathies with the staff of Heli Charter who have been affected by what is happening.

"The charity has its own contingency plan in place and its implementation has already begun."

The charity said it was looking to secure its own Air Operator Certificate, meaning it could run a helicopter directly and without having to use the services of a third party organisation like Heli Charter.

In July last year, the air ambulance helicopter was grounded after an incident that saw the Bell 429 aircraft spin out of control.