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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Rescue services


Equipment

  • How is a person rescued from a glacier crevasse? What equipment is used?
    If the accident victim is not or only slightly injured, and is not stuck in the crevasse, standard mountaineering equipment is used, for example, alpine rope, karabiners, ice picks and ice screws. The rescuer uses these tools to make an improvised pulley. The person attaches himself to the end of the rope and is then hauled out of the crevasse.

    If the person is injured or even unconscious, a rescuer has to descend into the crevasse to administer first aid to him and attach him to the rescue rope. Sometimes, the casualty is stuck and keeps slipping further down into the very narrow crack, as his own body warmth slowly melts the ice around him. In such a case, the rescuers can only reach the patient by hacking a channel in the ice to widen the crevasse.

    In order to carry out rescues of this kind, Rega and the Swiss Alpine Club (SAC) need a special piece of equipment: a crevasse rescue kit. The most important objects stored in this container are the following:

    1) A tripod with two hand-operated winches, which is placed directly over the crevasse. This enables the rescue team to pull up the patient on the end of the rope.

    2) An electric or compressor-driven rock drill, which is used to hack an access shaft out of the ice.

     

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