Since the Federal Border Police took over flight operations in 1996, Saarbrücken – also known as the flying yellow angels – has been alerted around 35,000 times,corresponding to to around 1,400 missions annually.
“The station in Saarbrücken has made a significant contribution to the more than 1.1 million ADAC air rescue operations to date. With their high level of professionalism and great commitment, the crew made Christoph 16 indispensable as a quick lifesaver from the air,” explained Frédéric Bruder, Managing Director of ADAC Luftrettung. "Air rescue is teamwork", he added.
Reasons for deployment in Saarland are predominantly cardiovascular emergencies such as heart attacks and cardiac arrhythmias, injuries after leisure, sports, school and traffic accidents as well as neurological emergencies such as a stroke. The ADAC rescue helicopter stationed in Saarbrücken is an Airbus EC135 machine. The great advantages of the helicopter are its operational speed of around 230 km/h and its independence from difficult road or traffic conditions.
Two pilot changes pending for ‘Christoph 16’
The crew roster of Christoph 16 consists of three pilots from ADAC air rescue, 14 emergency doctors from the Saarbrücken Winterberg Clinic and seven emergency paramedics (TC HEMS) from the DRK Saarland.
Pilot changes are pending for Christoph 16. Station manager Klaus Kacheleck –pilot of ADAC air rescue since 1998, first in Mainz and since 2005 in Saarbrücken – is saying goodbye to a well-deserved retirement. As is Bernd Gnädinger, whohas been with ADAC Luftrettung since 1995, first in Fulda and since the commissioning of Christoph 16 25 years ago in Saarbrücken. Fabrice Léoncini – a pilot with ADAC Luftrettung since 2010 – and Achim Züscher –in the service of ADAC Luftrettung since November 2020 – will take over these tasks as successors. Mirko Schmidt will be in charge of the ward.
The rescue helicopter Christoph 16 has been in use in Saarland since 1978. When the Federal Border Police withdrew from civil air rescue in 1996, the non-profit ADAC Air Rescue took over the station. Especially in rural regions, where there is often a lack of emergency doctors, the rescue helicopter is often the fastest and only way to get the emergency doctor to seriously injured or sick people on time – and to transport them gently to a suitable clinic.