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German air ambulance operator records 38,000 missions during 2011

German air ambulance operator records 38,000 missions during 2011

German air ambulance operator DRF Luftrettung recorded more than 38,000 missions during 2011, it has been revealed.

The organisation's helicopters, based out of 31 locations in Germany, Austria and Denmark, flew a total of 38,366 missions, with 35,075 flown in Germany alone - a rise of 3% compared to the year before.

According to DRF, some 16% of the missions in Germany involved patients injured in car or leisure accidents.

'Every third emergency patient has to be transported to a hospital by a helicopter. For several years the German health system has been undergoing structural changes, for example a specialisation of clinics. Our helicopters can cover wide distances fast and therefore have a crucial advantage to provide the patients with an optimal treatment, especially in rural areas,’ said Steffen Lutz, CEO of DRF Luftrettung.

'Therefore air rescue in Germany is gaining more and more importance.

DRF has also been boosting its operations at night. Eight of the 31 bases are now operating 24/7 with pilots using night vision goggles for night-time flying. During 2011, one in every five missions was flown at night.

Outside Germany, DRF Luftrettung flew 2,379 helicopter missions in 2011.from the two HEMS bases in Austria and one HEMS base in Denmark.

The Danish helicopter with the call sign “Air Rescue 01” flew 683 missions. DRF says that the number of missions proves that the first Danish HEMS base, in Ringsted on the island of Zealand, has been well established. The Danish aircraft is operated by Falck DRF Luftambulance A/S, a consortium of DRF Luftrettung and the Danish rescue service operator Falck A/S.

The two Austrian aircraft, based at Reutte in the Tyrol and Fresach in Carinthia, flew a total of 1,696 missions.

The majority of the missions in Austria concerned patients with internal diseases and neurological emergencies, such as apoplexy and heart attack. They were also alerted to casualty patients, skiing accidents for example, in the mountains.

DRF currently operates a fleet of Bk117s, EC135 and EC145 helicopters on EMS duties. In November, DRF ordered 25 EC145 T2s in a deal work €200 million. The first five aircraft will go into operation in December 2013 and the type will progressively replace the aging BK117s.

Source: By Tony Osborne in London, 06 February 2012 - Rotorhub News (

Photo: German air ambulance Helicopter (Photo by Shephard Group)


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