The Swiss Air Rescue Service, Rega, says it flew to the aid of people a record number of times last year, with more helicopter flights and repatriations from abroad.This content was published on April 16, 2009 - 12:00
Rega, which is based in Zurich, said the total number of flights increased to 14,215 or by 5.8 per cent compared with 2007.
In a statement, Rega commented that 2008 had been "extremely intensive" because of good weather and the resulting increase in leisure activity.
The organisation's helicopters alone flew on 10,425 rescue missions, an average of 29 per day, with an increase in missions carrying people with urgent illnesses and injured winter sports enthusiasts.
Rega added that it had brought home 1,304 patients from abroad last year, an increase of 5.2 per cent or 64 missions.
The organisation, which is funded by more than two million patrons, is investing in 11 AgustaWestland Da Vinci helicopters to cater for future needs.
The Da Vinci, designed specifically with Rega in mind, can perform high altitude rescue missions as well as carry out the rapid hospital-to-hospital transfer of severely injured patients, providing them with specialised medical treatment in flight.
swissinfo with agencies
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