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 an air rescue service which provides emergency medical assistance in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.[1][2] REGA mainly assists in mountain rescues and in the cases of life-threatening emergencies they will assist in other locations. REGA will also return a patron to Switzerland from a foreign country if s/he is in need of urgent medical care. REGA was established on 27 April 1952 by Dr Rudolf Bucher, who thought that the Swiss rescue organization needed a specialized air sub-section[citation needed].

REGA is a private, non-profit foundation that does not receive financial assistance from the government. Unique among European countries, 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. Also a unique feature for a European country, people in distress can call for a helicopter rescue directly (phone number 1414). In case of insufficient mobile phone coverage, alpinists can also use an emergency radio telephone (161.3 MHz).

The REGA operations centre is located at the Zurich-Kloten airport where all rescue missions are coordinated. All of the REGA helicopters carry a crew of three: a pilot, an emergency physician and a paramedic who is also trained to relieve the pilot in certain areas (radio, navigation, terrain/object avoidance, winch operation). In some circumstances, such as evacuating cable cars or retrieving injured climbers from a rock face, the crew also consists of a specialist trained by the Swiss Alpine Club.

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

The head office, called the 'REGA Centre', is a hangar located in the North East section of Zurich-Kloten airport. This hangar has direct access to the runways of the airport.[3] It is within the municipality of Kloten.[4]

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

The REGA also provide a repatriation service for people injured in a foreign country who cannot make the journey home by themselves.


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 works closely with several organizations including emergency services such as the police, fire and ambulance services. It assists in rescue efforts related to road accidents by working 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 of the Swiss Air Force, which also supports the REGA with helicopters and personnel, if necessary. For search and rescue flights in difficult conditions, the Air Force always 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. Also all aircraft equipment of the Swiss Air Force can be used to gain a rapid and precise location of an emergency signal that then can be transmitted with the exact position to the REGA helicopter at an early stage. The REGA uses the radio system of the Air Force for comprehensive radio coverage, which has a larger coverage area than civil aviation radio.


  1. ^ Rega Missions
  2. ^ Landespolizei Liechtenstein > Notrufnummern
  3. ^ "Rega Centre." (Archive) REGA. Retrieved on March 16, 2014.
  4. ^ "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
  5. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ a b Rega Fleet

External links[edit]