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Swiss Air-Rescue Rega, to home page

In 2017, Rega helped an average of 29 patients per day

Last year, the operational crews of Swiss Air-Rescue Rega came to the aid of an average of 29 patients per day. With a total of 15,958 missions, Rega was in demand more than ever before – both at home and abroad. This figure is equivalent to on average one mission every 33 minutes.

Rega can look back on a busy year: in 2017, the Operations Centre organised a total of 15,958 missions (+5.7 %). Both the helicopters and the ambulance jets were in the air more frequently than in the previous year, with the helicopters flying 11,774 missions (+6.5 %) and the ambulance jets 886 missions (+3.3 %). Overall, the Rega crews came to the aid of 10,788 patients (+7.1 %), equivalent to an average of 29 patients per day*.


Spells of fine weather give rise to a large number of missions

Generally speaking, the helicopter mission statistics reflect the meteorological conditions, as well as the leisure activities of the Swiss population, and therefore are naturally subject to fluctuation. This was particularly apparent in the months of February and October of last year, which proved to be exceptionally sunny. A good quarter more patients than in 2016 needed swift medical assistance by air during these periods. With its own Operations Centre and 12 helicopter bases distributed throughout the country, Rega is able to dispatch its rescue helicopters across regional borders and also call out additional helicopters if necessary. As a result, it is well able to cope with a large number of missions and swiftly provide emergency medical assistance wherever it is needed.


Rega ambulance jets in operation worldwide for the Swiss population

Rega is on standby around the clock ready to help not only in Switzerland, but all over the world: last year, Rega’s medical consultants provided a total of 2,571 people (+2.4 %) suffering serious health problems abroad with medical advice. Depending on their medical condition, and after clarification by a medical consultant, Rega’s Operations Centre arranges the transport back home to Switzerland. In 2017, Rega repatriated a total of 1,249 patients (+2.1 %). Of these, 901 patients (+3.7 %) were flown home in one of Rega’s three ambulance jets. For 348 patients (-1.7 %), Rega was able to organise the return journey on board a scheduled aircraft, accompanied by a flight physician, an intensive care flight nurse or without an escort.


Illness is the most common reason for a Rega mission

As in the previous year, in 2017 illness was the most common reason for carrying out a helicopter mission: 44 percent of all helicopter missions were flown in response to a serious or acute illness such as a stroke or cardiovascular problems. Well below this figure are missions performed as a result of winter sports, occupational and road accidents. With the repatriations by Rega ambulance jet, the share is even higher: 61 percent of patients were flown home for further treatment due to illness, and 39 percent due to an accident.

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*Note: The number of patients and missions do not always concur, as, for example, several patients may be transported on board the same flight or search flights are performed without any patients. In addition, the Rega Operations Centre organises, among other things, missions by the mountain rescuers from the Swiss Alpine Club SAC and animal transports on behalf of mountain farmers.