Zermatt Mountain Rescuers: Award from the FAI
Helicopter pilot Daniel Aufdenblatten and mountain rescue specialist Richi Lehner were awarded yet another honorary prize on Saturday, 17th March 2012. They were honoured by the FAI at the general meeting of the Aero Club of Switzerland for their mountain rescue in Nepal.
“We accept this award in the name of all air rescue services“, said helicopter pilot Daniel Aufdenblatten from Air Zermatt at the presentation of the “FAI Diploma for Outstanding Airmanship“. The FAI is the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, which awards the prize annually for outstanding aeronautical services worldwide.
The mountain rescue in question was able to be carried out at the time because Air Zermatt and the Alpine Rescue Centre Zermatt were in Nepal taking part in the setting up of a helicopter rescue station. This link has been maintained up to today for the transfer of know-how.
Rescue operation in April 2010
The two rescuers from Zermatt received their first award in March 2011 for their unique performance on the Annapurna in Nepal in April 2010. In a pioneering exploit, they rescued three mountaineers with a helicopter at an altitude of almost 7,000 metres. For this action, they received the Heroism Award, the Oscar of the skies, in Washington D.C. Until this time, it has been assumed that rescues could not be carried out at this altitude. Media from around the world published reports about the two rescuers from Zermatt.