1000 rescue missions since the beginning of the year
Air Zermatt flew its thousandth rescue since the beginning of 2022 on Wednesday, April 13. This is the first time in the history of the Upper Valais-based helicopter company that the 1000 mark has been reached so early in the year. This means that since the beginning of the year, Air Zermatt's rescue crews have been called out to people in distress an average of around ten times a day. That is a record.
Taking April 13 as the reference date, Air Zermatt is recording around 10 percent more helicopter rescues this year than in the record year of 2019. Three years ago, the mark of the thousandth rescue was cracked on April 27.
Air Zermatt is also registering an increase of around 14 percent in ambulance missions this year compared to 2019.
In the months of January to March, there was an exceptionally long period of good weather in Air Zermatt's operational area. Sunshine automatically attracted many people to the ski destinations. At the same time, the ski slopes in the Upper Valais presented themselves comparatively hard due to the low amounts of precipitation, which can lead to major injuries in the event of a fall. Last but not least, there was little to no snow next to the slopes. Therefore, the fall areas became small and the risk of a collision with a stone increases. At the same time, the Air Zermatt rescue crews are registering more crevasse rescues this year. Again, the lack of snow can be considered the cause.
Air Zermatt is prepared for the increased rescue missions. The air rescuers can deploy up to five rescue crews at any time at their bases in Zermatt, Raron and Gampel. In addition to the three aircraft that are permanently on duty during the high season, Air Zermatt can call on additional rescue crews and rescue helicopters at any time. Thus, it is an enormous advantage for the dispatch centers to always have access to a back-up system of single-engine helicopters, which are medically equipped and manned by a medical crew, in addition to the twin-engine rescue aircraft.
In addition, the two Valais air rescue companies, Air Zermatt and Air-Glaciers, work together excellently and can guarantee coverage in the canton of Valais at all times, even on busy days.
For its 1000th rescue, Air Zermatt was called to a skiing accident on Trockener Steg above Zermatt. A female skier suffered a fractured thigh.