Drama at the Grand Combin - Air Zermatt in large-scale operation
The Air Zermatt was called at 6:20 this morning to a major rescue operation at the Grand Combin in the municipality of Val de Bagnes. More than ten people were hit by a glacier collapse at an altitude of 3500 meters and were injured, some of them severely to very severely, several people even died in the accident.
This morning at 6:20 a.m., the alarm was raised at Air Zermatt: rescue mission at the Grand Combin due to a so-called seracs break-off, the falling of piled-up glacier ice. Air Zermatt flew to the scene with two rescue helicopters, Air-Glaciers with five and Rega with another two.
"After landing, a triage of the accident site was carried out, preceded by a briefing by the Air Glacier operations officer," said the Air Zermatt emergency physician on duty. According to current information, around 15 climbers were on the mountain at the time of the accident. The victims were initially rescued from the accident site by the mountain rescue team from Zermatt and Sion and then flown by two helicopters, an Ecureuil H125 (AS 350 B3) and an EC 135, to a plateau below, where first aid was administered. Subsequently, the climbers were transferred to the hospital in Lausanne and Sion and the remaining climbers were evacuated.
Air Zermatt used two of its aircraft to fly four seriously injured people to Sion, where the accident had already been announced and a large contingent of medical personnel had been deployed accordingly. "Despite the severity of the operation, we were able to act in the best possible way thanks to the very structured operational situation, excellent operational control on the field and the highly professional cooperation between rescue crew, rescue specialists and the KWRO," the emergency doctor continues.
Several people lost their lives in the Seracs fall, at least ten were seriously injured or even suffered polytrauma. Our thoughts are with the relatives and we wish the injured a quick and good recovery.