Protecting our visitors and offering them the best possible care in worst case scenarios is an important part of the service we offer. Don’t worry, neither our pistes nor our mountains are any more dangerous than other resorts in the Alps, but the right safety precautions simply have to be in place.
The day begins
The day begins at 7.45am. Pilot Walter carries out his daily check of the helicopter, emergency doctor Wolfgang checks through his medical equipment, whilst air rescue worker Jeff inspects all of the rescue equipment such as ropes. “Between the alarm sounding and take off, we only have 3 minutes to get ready to make sure we arrive at the incident as soon as possible”, explains Wolfgang, who is originally from Bavaria. As the lead doctor at the base in Mayrhofen, Wolfgang is responsible for the team rotas and has a full-time position in the helicopter crew. “To get to treat my patients in such an expensive vehicle, is the highlight of my professional career as a surgeon.” It seems that Wolfgang has really found his true calling as a doctor.
At exactly 10.18am the first alarm comes in over the Tyrol control centre. Martin 7 is started up and lifts into the air. We fly from Mayrhofen, over the Zillertal Arena at Zell am Ziller to Gerlos, where the piste rescue services signal where the helicopter should land. The time from the skiing accident to the medical response is just 10 minutes. “Medical assistance at this speed can only be guaranteed with a helicopter”, explains passionate air rescue worker Jeff, who has been part of the crew since 2002. As an air rescue worker, Jeff, who is actually called Martin, is a HCM (Helicopter Crew Member) just like the pilot. His job is to support the pilots, accepting the call outs and communicating with the control centre as well as the piste rescue services. He is also responsible for coordinating the GPS data. Training as a paramedic is compulsory for air rescue workers as they are also required to assist the emergency doctor.
Transfer to the hospital
Depending on the nature of the injury the patient is either flown to the Sportclinic in Mayrhofen, to the county hospital in Schwarz or to the state hospital in Innsbruck. We fly over beautiful mountains to bring the patient to the necessary medical care; the rescue chain is seamless. Pilot Walter lands the helicopter on the roof of the hospital so that the injured patient can be transferred quickly to the hospital team. Walter, who originally hails from Vorarlberg, has been flying over the mountains of Tyrol for over 30 years and loves his job. His calm manner makes him one of the best pilots. “It wasn’t my childhood dream to become a helicopter pilot, but I caught the flying bug as a young man, and now I feel more comfortable in the air than on the ground.”
A feeling of security
The fact that we have a rescue helicopter in resort can only positively influence your decision to spend your holiday in Mayrhofen. It proves that we truly value the wellbeing of our guests and are dedicated to providing them with the highest standard of service. However, if you ever fancy flying like a bird above the mountains of the Ziller Valley, we recommend a tandem paragliding flight instead. It’s a similar experience to flying with a helicopter, but when paragliding you can enjoy the experience pain-free and fully conscious!