Rega (air rescue)

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REGA Agusta A109SP Cabin.
REGA evacuation by plane, after the Tōhoku Disaster.

The Swiss Air-Rescue (Deutsch: Schweizerische Rettungsflugwacht, French: Garde aérienne suisse de sauvetage, REGA) is a private, non-profit air rescue service which provides emergency medical assistance in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.[1][2] REGA was established on 27 April 1952 by Dr Rudolf Bucher, who believed the Swiss rescue organization needed a specialized air sub-section[citation needed]. REGA mainly assists with mountain rescues, though they will also operate in other terrains when needed, most notably during life-threatening emergencies. The REGA also provide a repatriation service for people injured in a foreign country who cannot make the journey home by themselves and/or if s/he is in need of urgent medical care.

REGA also aids alpine farmers during the summer months in rescuing livestock and retrieving dead animals.

As a non-profit foundation, REGA does not receive financial assistance from any government. Quite unique within Europe, the majority of the costs are paid for through annual fees of private contributors (As of 2013: 2.5 million patrons); in exchange, REGA will not charge its contributors with search, rescue and repatriation costs. As another rare aspect of REGA, people in distress can call for a helicopter rescue directly (phone number 1414). In case of insufficient mobile phone coverage, alpinists can also use emergency radio telephone (161.3 MHz).

The head office, The REGA Centre, (home to the REGA operations centre where all missions are coordinated) is a hanger located at the North East section of Zurich-Kloten airport within the municipality of Kloten;[3] the hangar has direct access to the runways of the airport.[4] All REGA helicopters carry a crew of three: a pilot, an emergency physician and a paramedic who is also trained to assist the pilot for radio communication, navigation, terrain/object avoidance, and winch operations. In some situations, such as evacuating cable cars or retrieving injured climbers from a rock face, the crew will also consist of a specialist trained by the Swiss Alpine Club.

In the Canton of Valais, helicopter search and rescue is carried out by Air Glaciers and Air Zermatt.


The name REGA was created by combining letters from the name "Swiss Air Rescue Guard" as it is written in German (Schweizerische Rettungsflugwacht), French (Garde Aérienne Suisse de Sauvetage), and Italian (Guardia Aerea Svizzera di Soccorso). The decision to change the name was made in 1979, to create a uniform name between the three languages and provide a more concise name.[5]


Bases and their locations[edit]


REGA work closely with several organizations and emergency services such as the police, fire and ambulance services. It assists in rescue efforts related to road accidents with the Touring Club Suisse TCS. For alpine search, rescue and recovery operations, the REGA works closely with rescue branch of the Swiss Alpine Club. For larger operations, REGA may request additional helicopters from the FOCA or the Swiss Accident Investigation Board (SAIB, German acronym SUST) (formerly Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB). REGA is a special partner with the Swiss Air Force, which supports the REGA with helicopters and personnel when necessary. For search and rescue flights in difficult conditions, the Air Force has a FLIR equipped helicopter (usually Eurocopter AS332 Super Puma or Cougar) on-call. The Air Force continually monitors the airspace and directs emergency signals immediately to the REGA. Aircraft equipment of the Swiss Air Force is used to gain a rapid and precise location of an emergency signal that is transmitted to the REGA helicopter early in an emergency mission. The REGA has also access to the Air Force radio system for comprehensive radio coverage, which has a larger coverage area than civil aviation radio.


  1. ^ Rega Missions
  2. ^ Landespolizei Liechtenstein > Notrufnummern
  3. ^ "anfahrtsplan_rega_center_en.pdf" (Archive) REGA. Retrieved on March 16, 2014. "Address for route guidance systems: Bimenzältenstrasse 87 / 8302 Kloten" - See in: German, French, Italian
  4. ^ "Rega Centre." (Archive) REGA. Retrieved on March 16, 2014.
  5. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ a b Rega Fleet

External links[edit]