On Sunday morning, February 18th 2018 the Air Zermatt helicopter rescue team responded to a emergency call for a child who had sustained traumatic injuries at approximately 8,000’ while skiing the slopes below Rothorn Mountain. The Air Zermatt duty crew, Robert Anthamatten (Pilot in command), Peter Lackermeier, MD (Flight Physician) and Oliver Kreuzer (Flight Paramedic/Hoist Operator), along with two rescuers from the Snohomish County Helicopter Rescue Team based in Washington State, USA, Miles Mcdonough (Rescue Technician) and Richard Duncan (Flight Paramedic), responded in a hoist equipped Bell 429 rescue helicopter from the Zermatt helicopter base. After arriving on scene within 10 minutes of the initial dispatch, Richard and Miles assisted Oliver with securing the scene, accessing the patient and conducting a physical exam while Dr. Lackermeier established IV access and administered pain medication. Together the rescuers immobilized the injuries of concern and packaged the subject for helicopter extraction. Less than 20 minutes from departing the snow-covered mountain, the rescue team had landed on the roof of Visp Hospital and delivered the subject to emergency care providers. Due to the nature of the subject’s injuries, there was unfortunately no opportunity for injured subject to interact with the rescuers before they departed the hospital.
Later that day, while delivering a seriously injured off-piste snowboarder to this same facility, the Air Zermatt helicopter rescue team had the opportunity to stop by the room of the injured child from earlier in the day. The injured child, Tristan, was in much improved spirits and requested to have his photo taken with the rescue crew. During his convalescence, Tristan painted a picture of thanks for Air Zermatt and his Mom later delivered it to the crew members.
The Snohomish County Helicopter Rescue Team (SC-HRT) serves the Cascade Mountain Range of Washington State, USA. Like the Air Zermatt helicopter rescue team, they provide advanced life support medical care, mountain rescue specialists, and a hoist equipped helicopter resource for injured and lost subjects beyond the reach of normal emergency services. The two members of SC-HRT had traveled to Zermatt for a 5-day trip with the goal of exchanging rescue and medical techniques that would benefit their respective programs.