01. March 2023

Low snow winter months challenge Air Zermatt

In the first two months of this year, Air Zermatt carried out more rescue missions than ever before in its history. Air Zermatt sees the reason for this in the combination of little snow on and off the ski slopes and the persistently beautiful winter weather.

Since the beginning of the year, the helicopter crews have carried out a total of over 640 rescue missions. This number is 80 rescues higher than last year, when Air Zermatt completed the most rescue missions in its history. Air Zermatt also recorded more ambulance missions than ever before, with over 420 missions.

Günther Willisch, co-head of  Air Zermatt's rescue service, explains: "The winter with little snow put a lot of strain on the ski slopes. Often the slopes were hard and icy, which increased the risk of falls. In addition, there were more people on fewer kilometers of slopes, which encouraged collisions among skiers." Of particular concern, he said, was the fact that many children were involved in collisions.

In January and February, Air Zermatt crews were called out not only for accidents on the slopes, but also for people who were acutely ill and transfer flights between hospitals. At peak times, up to five Air Zermatt helicopters were in the air at the same time. In addition, the air rescuers were called out for several night rescues.

Additional rescue helicopter

Recent statistics show that Air Zermatt is increasingly being called out on rescue missions. Not least for this reason and in order to be prepared for parallel missions, the company has ordered an additional Bell 429 rescue helicopter. Air Zermatt already operates two of these helicopters and has found that they are perfectly suited to the needs of alpine rescue. The new rescue helicopter will be in service from autumn and will complement Air Zermatt's fleet of eleven helicopters in total. In addition to the Bell 429 rescue helicopter, a new Ecurueil H125 (AS 350 B3) will be delivered in April.


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