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The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office’s Trauma Star helicopter is often landed on Keys bridges to care-flight critical patients to the mainland for treatment.

KEY WEST — The Monroe County Commission has agreed to start the process to purchase or lease three new Trauma Star air ambulance helicopters at a cost of roughly $52 million.

Some aircraft in the county’s fleet of Trauma Star helicopters are reaching the age of 22 years and the life expectancy of such aircraft is about 25 years, said Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay, whose agency oversees the helicopters. In addition, the company that built the Trauma Star helicopters has stopped making the specific brand and it has become harder to obtain parts, Ramsay said.