Swiss Air-Rescue (Rega) rescued a record number of people in 2021, coming to the assistance of more than 12,000 for the first time since it was founded in 1952.
Rega, best known for rescuing skiers and hikers in distress, had the “busiest year in its history", it said on TuesdayExternal link. The air rescue service last year organised 18,017 missions, up 10.7% on the previous year.
Its helicopters were in the air particularly frequently, but its three ambulance jets also recorded more missions. As well as its regular operational activities, Rega said that at the request of the authorities it “continued to support Swiss hospitals as a national coordination centre by organising the distribution of patients among the intensive care units” during the coronavirus pandemic.
In total, 14,330 helicopter missions were carried out (+8.1%). Rega also repatriated 970 people, 858 of whom were flown home by ambulance aircraft (+32.6%) and 112 by airliner (+0.9%). In 2021, Rega transported 702 people (+53.9%) infected with Covid-19.
Rega also reported an increase in its donors last year. By the end of 2021 it had nearly 3.7 million donors, a net increase of 53,000 compared with the end of the previous year.
Swiss Air-Rescue is a non-profit foundation that provides medical assistance by air and currently has 400 staff. Rega says it is “at the disposal of the Swiss people 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and operates 13 helicopter bases distributed throughout the country, as well as three ambulance jets”.
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