Mannum hospital helipad opens | PHOTOS, VIDEO

Lives may be saved thanks to the opening of a helipad at Mannum District Hospital on Friday.

Previously, patients had to be taken to Mannum Oval for evacuation to Adelaide, a delay which not only risked tragedy but also tied up emergency staff for a longer period.

The trip from Mannum's hospital to the Royal Adelaide will now be cut to about 18 minutes.

Mid Murray Mayor Dave Burgess described it as a "milestone day".

"The helipad has been a project that has galvanised the community in raising $143,000 in a short period of time," he said.

"The helipad will not only bring peace of mind to community members, but local ambulance and CFS volunteers and medical evacuation staff who have suffered significant delays and difficulties when having to evacuate people from the Mannum oval.

"To me it shows when a community is determined and positive they can achieve even amazing things."

Another $50,000 was contributed by the state government, whose Regional Development Minister Geoff Brock unveiled a plaque and cut a ribbon.

"It was immediately apparent to me that this was going to be money well spent," Mr Brock said.

"This project will save lives.

"A project like this provides confidence that quick and speedy care is within reach."

Health advisory council (HAC) chairman Peter Newman thanked everyone who had bought raffle tickets and the residents, churches, businesses and clubs who contributed their money to the cause.

He also acknowledged the contributions of Mr Burgess, councillors and staff, Mr Brock, Country Health SA, the Australian Lions Foundation, project manager Tom Avery, Helicopters Australia, Medstar, the hospital and HAC volunteers.

"Thank you for being a united, supportive, committed team, working tirelessly for the good of the community," he said.

The helipad took five years to build.

A street was closed, power lines buried underground, trees removed and earthworks completed to enable its construction.

The MAC rescue helicopter swooped low over the town and landed for the ceremony.

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