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Nearly 30 people per day rescued in air operations

mountain rescue exercise
A Rega crew during a mountain rescue exercise KEYSTONE/Dominic Steinmann

The demand for emergency air lifts is on the rise, reports Swiss air rescue service Rega. In 2017, it operated 12,660 flights – a 6.5% increase on the previous year. 

In total, RegaExternal link personnel served 10,788 people, or 29 per day on average. Nearly 900 missions required an ambulance jet; the rest were handled using helicopters, reported the non-profit foundation on Wednesday. 

+ How does Rega work? This gallery gives a behind-the-scenes glimpse 

Rega – whose work is funded by donations, membership fees, and insurance companies – coordinated 15,958 missions in 2017, which is 5.7% more than in the previous year. 

Rega also arranges rescue operations for the Swiss Alpine Club – or for trapped cavers or animals in need. Such operations are carried out with commercial aircraft. 

Operations included, for example, the repatriation of patients from abroad via a scheduled flight, as was the case for 348 patients. Another 901 patients flew home in one of Rega’s three ambulance jets. 

Illness is the most common reason people request a Rega flight; in 2017, 44% of its helicopter operations were for patients who had suffered a serious or acute illness such as a stroke or cardiovascular disease. Winter sports and work- or traffic-related accidents accounted for far fewer rescues.

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