Missing person search with the RECCO SAR Helicopter Detector

Training With The Chiemgau Mountain Rescue Service

and the Bavarian Police 

Press release

April 25, 2023

The Chiemgau Mountain Rescue Service and the Bavarian police helicopter squadron in Reiteralpe, Oberjettenberg, practice with the RECCO SAR helicopter detector twice a year. Two helicopter detectors are operational at Germany’s mountain rescue stations in Bad Reichenhall and Sonthofen.

The RECCO SAR helicopter detector enables fast and efficient searches for missing persons in rough terrain year-round. The system is operated by the Bavarian Mountain Rescue Service and the Bavarian Police Helicopter Squadron. The 80 kg search device in the form of a buoy sends and receives a directional radar signal and is attached to a cable under the helicopter. This enables rescuers to quickly search large areas for missing, lost, or injured people who are carrying a RECCO reflector.

During a typical exercise, mountain rescuers and police pilots are able to practice not only attaching and detaching the detector, takeoff, and landing but also how to use the RECCO SAR helicopter detector in the air to search for equipment and clothing with RECCO reflectors. 

We have about 9,000 rescue operations every year in Bavaria. About 300 of these are searches for missing persons. In the Chiemgau area alone, we have an average of 50 missing person searches every year, which are very demanding for us,” says Dr Klaus Burger, Head of Chiemgau Mountain Rescue. “We know that these RECCO reflectors are integrated into lots of outdoor products now. This saves us large-scale team searches and also searches with dogs, which sometimes can last several days.

The ten trained RECCO operators from the Chiemgau Mountain Rescue Service regularly conduct training sessions twice a year with the RECCO SAR helicopter detector. "Exercises like this are very important because we have to feel confident with the tools we use," says Michael Vierling, Air Rescue Officer at the Chiemgau Mountain Rescue Service

Police Chief Inspector Matthias Fuller confirms the advantages of the RECCO SAR helicopter detector on behalf of the Bavarian Police Helicopter Squadron: "It brings us many advantages because we can search large areas much faster. We can search up to one km2 in six minutes at an altitude of 100 meters at a speed of 100 km/h and a 100 meters wide search strip. We work together with the Bavarian mountain rescue service, which collaborates with the RECCO SAR operator during deployment of  the RECCO SAR helicopter detector. 

"When the signal becomes louder, we can turn it down with the remote control and accordingly narrow down the search into smaller areas. When we perceive the quietest acoustic signal, the pilot marks the spot so that we can find it again later. We have to put down the SAR detector first and then return to the spot, where we are lowered by the winch. Then we continue to work in the field with the R9 detector to do the fine search, says Andreas Zenz, RECCO SAR Project Manager Chiemgau Mountain Rescue 

RECCO reflectors are integrated into outdoor clothing and equipment such as helmets, backpacks and hiking shoes from over 150 brand partners including Jack Wolfskin, Arc‘teryx, Helly Hansen, Patagonia, POC and more. 

More Information


Press Contact

Julia Granhed, Communications Manager

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 32 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

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