Air Zermatt does numerous rescues over Easter
During the Easter holidays from Good Friday to Easter Monday, Air Zermatt carried out a total of 46 rescue missions by helicopter. Most of the missions were required due to skiing accidents, but there were also crevasse rescues, a crash, evacuations and a major operation after an avalanche on the Alphubel, where the rescuers were called to help. Saturday was particularly intense.
The Easter weekend attracted many ski enthusiasts to the slopes, while tourers were looking forward to a ski tour in the mountains. As a result, Air Zermatt rescue crews were increasingly called out on rescue missions. At times, up to six Air Zermatt helicopters were in action at the same time to provide assistance. On Monday, for example, there were six missions in the Upper Valais within nine minutes. However, thanks to the cooperation with Air-Glaciers, help was quickly available at each location.
On Saturday, undoubtedly the most serious incident occurred when an avalanche went down on the Alphubel above Saas-Fee. Air Zermatt responded immediately by flying rescue specialists and equipment to the avalanche cone. Thanks to the rapid and effective intervention of Air Zermatt and the competent rescue teams, all 16 people were rescued alive.
Several crevasse accidents
In addition to the operation on the Alphubel, the rescue crews of Air Zermatt were also called upon in several crevasse accidents on Saturday. In these cases, too, Air Zermatt worked closely with the rescue specialists from Zermatt to rescue the victims as quickly as possible.
On the Bishorn, a Dutch hiking guide with nine guests, equipped only with snowshoes, got into a critical situation. The man slipped on an icy spot and fell about eight meters into a crevasse. The rescue specialists were able to successfully free him from the crevasse and the Air Zermatt crew flew him to the hospital in Visp. The nine guests were evacuated to the Tracuit hut.
On the descent from the Strahlhorn, a German ski tourer also fell about six meters into a crevasse near the Adler Pass. She was also freed from the crevasse by the rescue specialists and remained unharmed. Air Zermatt flew her safely to the Britannia Hut.
On the Klein Matterhorn, a snowboarder from Asia left the marked slope and slid on a slippery ice surface before finally falling into a crevasse. Rescue specialists from Zermatt were flown to the crevasse by Air Zermatt to rescue the snowboarder from his predicament. Due to the difficult and inaccessible terrain, the snowboarder had to be flown away together with the rescuers using the MERS, a rope on which several people can be evacuated at the same time. The snowboarder was uninjured.
Crash at the Capanna Margherita
On Saturday, the air rescuers from Zermatt were also called to a crash. Two Swiss alpinists crashed below Capanna Margherita after one of them slipped on the ice, dragging his partner with him. The two climbers fell about 70 meters down the ice slope and across a serac before finally coming to a stop on a snow slope. The rescue crew of Air Zermatt took the injured alpinists to the hospital in Visp.
17 missions with the ambulance
But not only the helicopter crews were often in action. The Air Zermatt ambulance service was also in constant use during the Easter holidays. In total, the ambulance crews were called out on 17 missions.