The RECCO Story

“It is a great advantage to be able to live off your idea, but it is nothing compared to meeting someone who tells you they are alive because of your idea.” – Magnus Granhed, founder of RECCO AB.


Avalanche accident in Åre, Sweden

On December 30, founder Magnus Granhed took part in the rescue after a tragic avalanche accident in Åre, Sweden. Granhed lost a friend and after probing and searching with dogs, he thought there's got to be a faster way...


Idea, development and KTH thesis

Before today's RECCO detector was born, a prototype was built at the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology. The transmitting and transponding devices were two separate parts, compared to the one-device detector today. The crucial issue with the original system was that the two parts disturbed each other, which made it hard to have them too close while searching due to signal interference. The picture is taken in Åre, Sweden.

Different radio waves of different frequencies were measured over the course of one winter. At this time personal computers didn’t exist. In order to see the difference over a longer period, all instruments were filmed every other hour. These images were then put together to get an idea of the variation in data during the entire season.


First prototype – R1

Magnus Granhed searching with the first prototype in Duved (Åre), Sweden.


RECCO training in Tirol, Austria

One of the first demonstrations of the system with a prototype in Tyrol with media, avalanche specialists and others involved in avalanche study and search and rescue.


The company RECCO AB is founded

Bruno Jelk holding the first handheld RECCO detector called the R1.


First RECCO rescue reflector

The first attachable RECCO rescue reflector is introduced to the market. It contained a glass diode and was about 10 centimeters long.


Air Zermatt

The decision by RECCO to choose Air Zermatt as a key development partner from the beginning was obvious. Air Zermatt is one of the most experienced organizations within the mountain rescue industry.

"Beat Perren (Air Zermatt) and Bruno Jelk (mountain rescue Zermatt) have both had a significant impact on the RECCO rescue system from the start, especially during the development phase.”




Trappeur is the first brand to integrate RECCO reflectors into ski boots. They were later bought by Rossignol.



The French brand Degre7 with Patric Vallençant was the first brand to integrate RECCO reflectors into clothing



Swatch integrates a RECCO reflector into a watch.


First live rescue

The first live rescue is made with the RECCO system. A woman was localised from a helicopter in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.


RECCO R2 was introduced.



RECCO R3 was introduced.



RECCO started working with NATO and equipped the Norwegian armed forces.



Bruno Jelk testing the RECCO detector R5. Compared to the previous model at 16 kg, the R5 had a weight of 1,6 kg! The lighter weight of the R5 marked a revolutionary step forward making the transport to the avalanche scene as well as the search much easier.


Development phase

The introduction of smaller mobile phones at a rapid pace opened up the development of lighter and more powerful models of RECCO detectors. The RECCO reflectors are also going under an extensive development phase with smaller units which had more placement possibilities.



Bruno Jelk testing the RECCO R9. This model was revolutionary being the first handheld detector with the possibility to search for both transceivers and RECCO reflectors.



The first prototype of the helicopter detector is tested. Different from today's helicopter detector, this unit was placed directly under the helicopter and not hanging beneath it.



The RECCO SAR Helicopter Detector is introduced for the first time. It would take a few years of development before the first country is fully covered with the system.


RECCO SAR Helicopter Detector

The current model of the RECCO SAR Helicopter Detector is introduced.


Freeride World Tour

RECCO is official safety parner to Freeride World Tour. All athletes competing at Freeride World Tour, Freeride World Qualifier and Freeride Junior Tour events are equipped with a RECCO reflector as part of their mandatory safety gear.


Austria is covered

Austria is the first country to be fully covered by the RECCO SAR Helicopter Detector, in collaboration with the Austrian Police and Austrian Mountain Rescue Organisation ÖBRD. The roll-out process continues parallel with first placements Switzerland, Italy, Sweden and Norway.


RECCO consumer products

New RECCO rescue belt, RECCO helmet reflector and RECCO backpack reflectors are introduced to the consumer market.


Year-round Search & Rescue

RECCO is now providing a system for search and rescue all year round. More brands are integrating RECCO reflectors into summer clothing and gear.


RECCO is in 28 countries worldwide

Mt Hotham is the first ski resort in Australia to receive a RECCO handheld detector for avalanche rescue. This is the 28th country to be operational with the RECCO rescue system.


The RECCO Story

“It is a great advantage to be able to live off your idea, but it is nothing compared to meeting someone who tells you they are alive because of your idea.” – Magnus Granhed, founder of RECCO AB


Italy is covered

Italy sets new standards for the search and rescue of missing people in the outdoors. From now on, RECCO SAR Helicopter Detectors are available at four locations in Italy (AostaTrento, Val Gardena and Abruzzo), for search operations all over the country.


The RECCO SAR Helicopter Detector operational in Spain.

There are now  31 RECCO SAR Helicopter Detectors operational globally, with 11 in North America and 20 units deployed across Europe. Spain marks the 9th country.


40 years of RECCO

RECCO celebrates its 40th anniversary. The original idea with the RECCO rescue system was to find a technology to make all people searchable by professional rescue teams, with a maintenance-free and cost-efficient solution. Forty years later – the idea remains the same.