25-Jul-2022 Source: DRF Luftrettung
In the first half of 2022, the three ARA air rescue helicopters took off a total of 1,370 times to save lives. Never before has the non-profit company completed so many assignments during this period. Another reason for the record value: the nightly alarms are increasing.
The non-profit ARA Flugrettung took off with its three emergency medical helicopters for a total of 1,370 missions in the first half of 2022. This means an increase of 440 missions compared to the previous year. With 197 operations, part of this significant increase can be attributed to the new winter location at the Carinthian Nassfeld. “But even without Nassfeld, the increase in deployment is almost 26 percent. Never before have our helicopters been in the air more often in the first half of the year to save lives,” reports ARA Managing Director Thomas Jank.
For the deputy managing director of ARA Flugrettung, Andreas Grießer, there are two main reasons that have led to this significant increase in rescue flights: “On the one hand, there were almost as many alpine accidents last winter as in the times before the pandemic, and on the other hand, there are more our extended service times are being used more and more frequently by the control centers.” Operations in the dark have increased by around 50 percent compared to the same period in 2021.
While the number of emergency medical aids from the air is constantly increasing, support from the public sector, which is responsible for providing adequate emergency medical care, is tending to decrease. “The considerable costs of extending the working hours in order to save lives in the dark are only to be partially reimbursed, and to date there has been no substantial compensation for the skyrocketing fuel prices,” says Jank annoyed.
ARA Flugrettung is proud of the fact that the seasonal station at Nassfeld in Carinthia was able to establish itself as an important emergency medical supplement in the Gail, Lesach and Gitschtal region in the first season. It is currently still unclear whether this sometimes life-saving supplement will be available to the people of the region again next winter. “In any case, ARA is ready. The necessary official procedure will be started in the next few days. But if everything goes halfway right, we are confident that the ARA-3 will soon take off from Nassfeld again,” says Jank.
ARA air rescue will soon have reason to celebrate. On September 10th – if the Covid situation permits – there will be a worthy party in Reutte in Tyrol to mark the 20th anniversary of the station there. An open day with a varied supporting program awaits visitors from 11 a.m.
There are currently 94 people working for the non-profit ARA air rescue service: 13 pilots, 13 winch operators (HEMS-TC), 19 air rescuers, 39 emergency doctors and seven administrative staff. In Fresach and Reutte, a four-man crew (pilot, winch operator, flight rescuer, emergency doctor) is flown, which can even be supplemented by other special forces (mountain rescuers, specialists, intensive care nurses, dog handlers for avalanche operations…) if necessary. A three-person crew works at Nassfeld in winter.