Swiss air rescue organisation Rega has reported a busy start to 2014, having received over 130 call-outs for its helicopters and planes between New Year’s Eve and 2 January. Most of the taskings related to local winter sports accidents, but five missions were launched for the repatriation of patients from locations as far away as Tierra del Fuego.
On New Years Eve alone there were 66 missions, said Rega. Sporting incidents accounted for around half of these flights, the remaining being launched following mountaineering accidents or illnesses.
Rega’s fixed-wing aircraft were sent to the aid of patients from Europe (Alicante, Spain and Pristina, Serbia), the Middle East (Hurghada, Egypt), and Africa (Yaoundé, Cameroon). One particularly long journey began on 2 January for air ambulance plane HB-JRB, a Canadair CL604 Challenger. The aircraft will fly to Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, and Bogota, Colombia, to pick up two Swiss patients and return them to Switzerland on the same flight. The plane is expected to return to Zurich Airport on 5 January.