Prix Courage for Thomas Zumtaugwald
Thomas Zumtaugwald received the Prix Courage on November 9, 2023 in recognition of his courageous efforts in May 2022. As a rescue specialist at the Zermatt rescue station, he saved the life of a skier who had got into difficulties in an icy mountain stream.
In May 2022, a skier who was skiing off the marked piste fell into an underground glacial stream. The casualty had already spent an hour in the ice-cold water and was in acute mortal danger when the rescue services were able to locate his position. As the skier stopped responding to calls shortly afterwards and there was no time to wait for trained rescue divers, Zumtaugwald decided on a risky rescue operation. He abseiled down into the ice-cold water to the injured skier. In this rescue operation, Zumtaugwald risked his own life to save that of the skier. Zumtaugwald was awarded the Observer's Prix Courage for this courageous and selfless act.
Prix Courage for courageous people
Every year, the Beobachter awards the Prix Courage to inspiring people who impress with their fearless actions and courageous deeds. In the first phase, three favorites are selected in a public vote. A jury chaired by former Federal Councillor Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf will then decide who will be awarded the Prix Courage: "Thomas Zumtaugwald dared to rely on the other helpers, trusting that they would support him. As part of a team of rescuers, he risked the last step to save the whole." With these words, jury president Widmer-Schlumpf paid tribute to the courage of the Valais rescue specialist. Zumtaugwald was grateful for the recognition at the award ceremony: "I think I would do the rescue again in exactly the same way - but only if my people were on site again."
Thomas Zumtaugwald was accompanied at the Prix Courage award ceremony by his fellow rescuers Richard Lehner, Helmut Lerjen and Yann Dupertuis.