The DRF Luftrettung Group, providing insight into the growth of rapid air rescue during the Covid-19 pandemic, published its mission figures for last year. In total, the helicopters and aeroplanes in the red-and-white fleet received 38,076 alerts, representing a four per cent increase in missions compared to the previous year (36,586 missions).
The DRF Luftrettung Group also performed more missions last year, with 41,302 in 2021 versus 39,971 in 2020. The company also pointed to its internal development last year with the addition of two additional helicopters for catastrophes, the modernization of its Airbus H145 fleet with five-bladed rotors, and the start of professional helicopter pilot training at DRF Luftrettung academy.
“We have just finished another year of the coronavirus pandemic, a year in which we had to face constant new challenges as an organisation and as individuals,” said Dr Krystian Pracz, CEO of DRF Luftrettung. “I am very proud that our many years of experience and our expertise, and most of all our committed staff, allowed us to still always be there for people, even when the conditions were difficult. In these times of pandemic, air rescue has again shown noticeably that it has a special role in providing comprehensive medical care.
“By performing a total of 881 intensive-care transport missions for Covid-19 patients last year, DRF Luftrettung had a crucial role in relieving the pressure on hospitals that had reached their capacity,” added Pracz.
The DRF Luftrettung helicopters received a total of 37,834 alerts for emergency rescue missions and intensive-care transport. The crews on the two ambulance aircraft performed 242 repatriations. The Learjet pilots flew aircraft to 69 countries, covering a total distance of 828,570 kilometres.
The reasons behind the alerts were largely comparable to previous years, explains the company, with crews most frequently being called to patients with cardiovascular problems such as heart attacks or strokes or to accidents and falls. The three bases equipped with rescue hoists used them 118 times in order to provide rapid emergency care for patients in hard-to-reach locations.