Zermatt Tourism, Air Zermatt And RECCO Collaborate To Make More People Searchable In Zermatt
July 15, 2021
Joined forces between the three organizations seek to equip more people in Zermatt, making it easier for professional rescue teams to look for missing people in the outdoors year round.
Air Zermatt, Zermatt Tourism and RECCO presented the RECCO SAR helicopter detector and their long history of collaboration to Swiss national and local media earlier this summer. The history of RECCO in Zermatt started almost 40 years ago when Magnus Granhed, the founder of RECCO, met Beat Perren, the founder of Air Zermatt.
“One day, towards the end of the 1970s, two Swedes contacted me. They brought a new electronic device for locating avalanche victims, the "RECCO system". I called Bruno Jelk and together we quickly came to the conclusion after months of testing the device that this could be a very valuable invention for rescuing avalanche victims,” says Beat Perren.
“Looking back, this first meeting with Beat was the start of the entire RECCO project. Air Zermatt’s innovative and visionary approach had a great impact on how the story continued,” says Magnus Granhed.
In the early 80s Air Zermatt and the rescuers of Zermatt were the first to see and believe in the potential of RECCO technology and they started working with RECCO, to lay the foundation for what RECCO is today: A rescue technology used by professional rescuers worldwide.
”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,” Granhed continues.
RECCO technology has been used by mountain rescuers and ski resorts worldwide as an electronic avalanche burial search method for many years. With the RECCO SAR Helicopter Detector, the system expands from avalanche rescue of buried people to search and rescue of missing people in the outdoors all year round. The RECCO SAR Helicopter Detector was presented for the first time in 2015 and has since then undergone an extensive development and implementation phase. In Switzerland there are 2 units right now, including one at the Air Zermatt helicopter base.
“The big game changer here is the time factor. If we know somebody is wearing a RECCO reflector, we can immediately start searching with the helicopter detector,” says Anjan Truffer, Rescue Officer & Mountain Guide, Zermatt.
In order to be searchable by professional rescue teams using the RECCO SAR helicopter detector, one needs to be equipped with a RECCO rescue reflector. Many outdoor products such as jackets, pants or backpacks have integrated RECCO reflectors. In addition to the integrated reflectors, Zermatt Tourism and Air Zermatt also offer RECCO rescue reflectors, which can be attached to a helmet or backpack, in their stores and in the Air Zermatt and Zermatt Tourism online shops.
"Zermatt - Matterhorn is the outdoor destination par excellence. It is clear that our adventurous guests occasionally go off the beaten track. For Zermatt Tourism it is important to contribute as much as possible to the safety of our guests. We hope to be able to make a contribution to this with the partnership with RECCO”, Christian Ziörjen, Head of Partnership at Zermatt Tourism.
RECCO is excited to continue our work in Zermatt to further develop the rescue system to look for missing persons year round. Currently there are 20 RECCO SAR Helicopter Detectors globally, with 6 in North America and 14 units deployed across Europe. The latest deployments include Teton County Search & Rescue (USA), Alpine Helicopters (CAN) and the latest placement in Abruzzo, operated by Italy’s CNSAS.
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 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