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Warsaw. The mystery of the photos of the “Air Force One” ambulance missing for almost an hour

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The press center of the capital’s ambulance service published a promotional video featuring a specialized ambulance from Śródmieście. Our findings show that during the recording, medical dispatchers were unable to contact the ambulance crew, although patients were waiting for help. The spokesman for the ambulance service first denied that such a recording had been made, and now argues that it was made before the ambulance entered the emergency system. Only then they would have to be made in winter, and the weather in the recording is summer.

The bright yellow ambulance, marked W01-001, is an S-type ambulance, which means its team consists of two paramedics and a doctor. This is the only specialized Emergency Medical Team out of all eight in Warsaw’s city center. In the emergency room, the ambulance is referred to as “Air Force One.”

We first reported on the mysterious disappearance of the “Air Force One” ambulance in June last year. Investigation The services of the Masovian Voivode, supervising the state emergency medical services, began then.

According to our findings, the ambulance crew did not respond to repeated calls from medical dispatchers for nearly an hour. At that time, other rescue teams were with the patients or on their way to them, and subsequent calls for those in need of help were received by the Warsaw medical control room.

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There was supposed to be a failure, but it was not confirmed

From the beginning, when we were the first to inform about the incident with the ambulance, Piotr Owczarski, spokesman for Meditrans, argued that on June 6 there were problems with the operation of the State Emergency Medical Services ICT Command Support System, which was to affect the availability of ambulances.

However, the failure was not confirmed by the National Monitoring Center for State Emergency Medical Services. Moreover, the system administrator did not even record a report regarding a possible lack of connection with tablets in ambulances.

“In the event of a failure of the SWD PRM, emergency work procedures apply to both medical dispatchers and EMS members, which assume telephone communication and recording medical documentation in the local database of the EMS mobile application,” Jolanta Socha, administrator from the SWD PRM Technical Center, informed then.

Our unofficial information received from dispatchers and the paramedics themselves showed that the ambulance spokesman had planned to record a promotional film with the W01-001 ambulance on the Vistula Boulevards near the Mermaid Monument.

We also obtained records from the ambulance’s GPS locator, which show that when the dispatchers were looking for a free EMS to direct to a patient, the “Air Force One” ambulance was at the Mermaid Monument. Additionally, at that time the vehicle was supposed to be moving along the streets of Powiśle with its sound signals on.

They published a video of the “Air Force One” ambulance

On Friday, February 23, a film from the series “Ambulances of the World – Antalya” appeared on the social media of the Provincial Ambulance Station “Meditrans” in Warsaw. This is a series of recordings showing what ambulances look like in different countries, and what the capital’s ambulance service looks like.

An ambulance marked W01-001 appears in two shots of the film. The recording was made in the square next to the Mermaid monument on the boulevards.

“All photos involving the W01 01 ambulance were taken on one day in 2022, before it was officially handed over to our unit by the Masovian Voivodeship Marshal’s Office – the photos were taken on the boulevards on the Vistula River, at the waiting station on Woronicza Street and on Woronicza and Wołoska Streets. I emphasize – all shots taken with the ambulance were taken when the ambulance was not yet in the system,” wrote Piotr Owczarski from Meditrans in response to our questions about the new film.

He also explained that “basically, for all the filming that we (Meditrans – ed.) take, we use new ambulances that are not yet in the system. Only after their ceremonial consecration and handover do they enter the system.”

Ceremonial handover and dedication of a new specialist ambulance (February 2022)WSPRiTS Meditrans SP ZOZ in Warsaw

The recording in a summer environment was supposed to be made in winter

We decided to check when the Volkswagen with registration number WI 940 LP, marked as W01-001, joined the Meditrans fleet. According to our information, the vehicle arrived in Warsaw in December 2021. Less than three months later, in February 2022, a ceremonial dedication and handover of eight new ambulances, including “Air Force One”, took place at the Meditrans base in Woronicza. Information about this event along with a photo gallery can be found on the website of the Marshal’s Office of the Masovian Voivodeship and the ambulance service.

At the request of the Meditrans press center, several shots were taken with the 01 ambulance, including at the Mermaid monument.

The recordings were used on the ambulance service’s social media, for example on Women’s Day.

A frame from a promotional film with the participation of the 01 ambulance on the occasion of Women’s Day at the Mermaid MonumentProvincial Emergency Station “Meditrans” in Warsaw

The photos, obviously due to the winter weather, were taken under heavy cloud cover, with rescuers wearing warm jackets. In the films, the trees at Woronicza and on the boulevards have no leaves.

The weather is completely different in the video published at the end of February, in which the W01-001 ambulance is surrounded by green trees and a cloudless and sunny sky. Paramedics, in turn, pose for recordings in short-sleeved T-shirts and with open ambulance windows.

“Air Force One” ambulance in a promotional video next to the Mermaid Monument in a summer settingWSPRiTS “Meditrans” SP ZOZ in Warsaw

Therefore, we again asked Piotr Owczarski to explain why there was such a discrepancy in the weather since the recordings – as Owczarski claims – were made one day before the ceremonial handover of the ambulance? We also asked whether the Meditrans management explained where the W01-001 ambulance and its medical team were for an hour on June 6 last year when dispatchers were unable to contact him?

We have not received a response by the time of publication.

Author:Artur Węgrzynowicz



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