09. January 2023

Night Operations, Winch Rescues, Crevasse Accident

The beautiful winter weather attracted many people to the outdoors last weekend. Accordingly, the helicopters of Air Zermatt were often in action. In total, the rescue crews were called out on 42 missions from Friday to Sunday. On Friday alone, the Air Zermatt helicopters took off for 24 emergencies.

The rescue crews of Air Zermatt were mainly called to patients after winter sports accidents. In cooperation with Air-Glaciers, nine helicopters were in the air at the same time for rescues in the Valais on Saturday. Air Zermatt also demonstrated once again the good cooperation with the rescuers from Italy during the weekend. Over the weekend, Air Zermatt flew a total of five missions in the Cervinia-Aosta-Valtournenche region. Three patients who had had accidents in the Zermatt ski area were flown to Italy. Two patients who had an accident on the Italian side were flown back to Swiss hospitals.

Night operations in the Saas and Matter valleys

The Cantonal Valais Rescue Organization KWRO (emergency number 144) also called on Air Zermatt for several night missions from Friday to Sunday. On Friday morning shortly after midnight, a person from Saas-Fee needed the help of the air rescue company from the Valais. The person had fallen the previous day and was in medical care. At night, however, the patient had to be flown from Saas-Fee to the hospital in Sion as an emergency. 

On Friday evening after 7 p.m., Air Zermatt received an emergency call from two snowshoe walkers. They were walking in daylight from the Täschhütte in the direction of Zermatt, but at a late hour had lost their way in impassable terrain. In cooperation with a Zermatt rescue specialist, Air Zermatt rescued the two snowshoers in the Täschwang, an avalanche chute between Täsch and Zermatt. The two winter sports enthusiasts were evacuated from their predicament in the dark of night using the winch.

During the high season, Air Zermatt is on standby around the clock at its base in Gampel as well as in Zermatt with a rescue crew consisting of pilots, paramedics and an emergency doctor, and is in the air within a few minutes.

Crevasse rescue at the Rimpfischhorn

On Saturday afternoon, a two-man team was also on the Mellich glacier below the Rimpfischhorn. One person suddenly fell about 20 meters into a crevasse. Air Zermatt immediately flew three rescue specialists from the Zermatt rescue station as well as rescue equipment for crevasse accidents to the scene of the accident. With the help of the tripod, the rescue specialists were able to quickly evacuate the person from the crevasse. Another helicopter, a twin-engine aircraft with pilots, paramedics and an emergency doctor on board, ultimately flew the accident victim to the hospital in Sion with head injuries.


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