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UK rescue helicopter group grounds aircraft

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EC135 aircraft. A Eurocopter photo.

LONDON (AP): A leading British rescue helicopter group has grounded 22 of its aircraft following a safety notice issued by manufacturer Eurocopter.

Bond Aviation Group spokesman Stephen Ballard says that the problem stems from reports of cracks found in the rotor hub area of Eurocopter's EC135 aircraft, a design popular with search-and-rescue services.

Ballard said Tuesday that Bond didn't have enough information about the nature of the problem and so had decided to suspend flights in the interest of safety.

The BBC said the decision left large parts of the country without any air rescue cover.

Eurocopter, a subsidiary of aerospace company EADS NV, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

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