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has a high endurance. The EC 145 or BK 117-2 is powered by two Turbomeca Arriel 1E2 with 771 PS (567 KW) each. The cruising speed is about 240 km/h (149mph) and the maximum operational altitude of 17,716’ ASL. In addition to the regular rescue equipment such as EMS interior, rescue hoist and cargo hook, the helicopters are equipped with some special features. The first to be men- tioned here is the long-line, a 200m rope that is engaged in the cargo hook to rescue climbers in vertical rock banks. If the bank is covered by a craning rock formation, the rescue specialist is able to bring himself to the person in need with the help of a telescope stake. The recovery bag is used if a person has to be transported in lying position and by hoist. If the person to be rescued is sus- pected to have suffered damage to the spine, it can be transported in the rescue net, which is easily to be moved under the lying person. Every fifth rescue mission of Rega is a night

flight. So all helicopters are fully night vision com- patible and the pilots and crewmembers use night


vision goggles. The spectrum of deployment is remarkable:

winter sporting accidents, traffic incidents and injured mountain climbers make up most of the assignments. But the crews of the Rega are also alerted to find buried people after an avalanche, to recover persons from crevasses, to help locate divers and even to assist in cave rescue and ani- mal recovery as well. To enable a rapid and safe mission the crews work in close cooperation with specialists from the fire brigade, members of moun- tain rescue services, commercial helicopter organi- sations (especially for animal transportation, after avalanches with high casualties or search flights), the Swiss Air Force (they have a state-of-the-art infrared camera system), the Swiss Alpine Club, ambulance services and the police.

The Donation System Rega is an autonomous and charitable private

trust that is financed 50 percent by health and accident insurance. The remaining 50 percent is


made up by donations.

For a fee of 30 CHF

(about $39 U.S.) for single persons, 60 CHF (about $77 U.S.) for a couple, or 70 CHF ($90 U.S.) for a family, every person in Switzerland or abroad can support the rescue activities of Rega. Rega offers their members medical help and advi- sory service as well as repatriation flights for peo- ple living in Switzerland or Liechtenstein, and Swiss citizens living in other countries. The membership is valid of one year and starts with the date of payment. As early as in 1985 they welcomed their 1 millionth member. Of course the rescue specialists of Rega are

subject to weather conditions and may not be able to fly a mission due to limited visibility, storms or other limiting factors. The Alps are a very challeng- ing and hostile area and many people get in danger due to rapidly changing weather, inadequate equip- ment and overestimation of one’s own capability, or simply foolish behaviour. Oftentimes missions are flown close to the limit of crew and helicopter, but the members of Rega

rightly put safety first.

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