Since the beginning of autumn, the RECCO SAR Helicopter Detectors are ready for use throughout Austria at the police heli-bases of Hohenhems, Innsbruck, Graz and Linz.
Innsbruck, 20.10.2018 – Austria sets new standards for the search and rescue of missing people in the outdoors. From now on, the RECCO SAR Helicopter Detectors are available at four bases of the Austrian Air traffic Police for search operations all over Austria.
Saving time and cost to date
According to statistics, between 500 and 600 people in Austria are reported missing in the open country and alpine regions every year. “To quickly find missing and distressed people is essential,” says Peter Veider, managing director of the Tyrol Mountain Rescue, “above all to protect the injured from a long night in the cold. Despite state-of-the-art aids such as a thermal imaging camera and mobile phone locator, hitherto impassable terrain often has to be searched for many hours by foot. This takes time and resources.”
Search and Rescue: Summer and winter
The RECCO technology has been used by mountain rescuers and ski resorts worldwide as an electronic avalanche burial search method for many years, so as well in Austria where mountain rescuers have been working with RECCO detectors for a long time. By adding the RECCO SAR Helicopter Detector, this expands the field of application of the RECCO technology from avalanche rescue of buried people to search and rescue of missing people in the outdoors all year round.
Fredrik Steinwall, CEO of RECCO AB, states: “For the first time in 2015, we presented our vision of the RECCO SAR Helicopter Detector to the public. Now, three years later, we are very pleased that we have been able to refine and develop our technology to the point where it is now and ready for use. To nationwide cooperation with the Austrian Air Traffic Police is a milestone – Austria is the first country in the world to be completely covered. “
RECCO technology is based on a directional radar system. In order to be located by the signal of the detector, one must be equipped with a RECCO rescue reflector. This rescue reflector is a passive transponder, requires no battery, is relatively small and easy to use. The integrated rescue reflectors have grown to almost a standard in winter gear, and now more and more brands are picking up the reflectors for their summer products and start to integrate them in hiking shoes, jackets, etc. to enable a faster distribution and use of reflectors in the outdoors, RECCO has now developed consumer reflectors that are attachable to backpacks or helmets.
Jürgen Albrecht, chief inspector / helicopter pilot at Air Traffic Police Vorarlberg, emphasizes: “The advantage with a helicopter is that you can get everywhere very quickly, even in rough terrain. Still this is often not enough to find a missing person. Vegetation or the alpine surface structures can obstruct a clear field of vision – making an optical search difficult. It happens that missing people see the helicopter but cannot be recognized by eye from the point of view of the helicopter. The RECCO SAR Helicopter Detector thus provides an additional pair of “electronic eyes” that can help to detect a missing person.”
Albrecht Continues: “Furthermore, the detector enables searches at higher speeds than usual. If the missing person has a reflector, then we will find him or her. The nationwide search in Austria is guaranteed by the 24-hour principle of the BM.I. This means that round-the-clock operations are coordinated and handled via the flight control center. From now on the use of the RECCO SAR Helicopter Detector will be part of the rescue chain and applied all over Austria if needed and if there is chance the missing person is searchable and equipped with a RECCO rescue reflector.”
RECCO® advanced rescue technology makes outdoor enthusiasts searchable to rescuers in case of an avalanche accident or when lost in the outdoors. The technology builds on a two-part radar system. Rescuers carry RECCO® detectors that send out search signals which are echoed by RECCO® reflectors, carried by the user. RECCO® detectors are used worldwide at more than 900 ski resorts and mountain rescue organizations in 28 countries. RECCO® reflectors are integrated into select apparel, helmets, protection gear and boots manufactured by more than 150 leading outdoor brands. RECCO AB was founded in 1983 in Sweden and is owned by its founder Magnus Granhed and the publicly traded investment company Traction AB (listed on OMX Nordic Exchange Stockholm). More info at recco.com