A fifth emergency medical helicopter called ‘Martin-5’ has gone into operation in Lower Austria. The red rotorcraft, operated by Heli-Austria subsidiary Martin Flugrettung, will be on call from Bad-Vöslau airfield every day from 0800 to sunset for life-saving missions across Vienna and Burgenland. The EC135 T3 was newly delivered to Heli Austria from the Airbus plant in Donauwörth in 2018.
Equipped with a four-axis autopilot and a Helionix glass cockpit, the aircraft is approved for night flight. It is also available for mountain rescue operations and is equipped with Tauflug equipment.
For the transport of infections, such as the coronavirus, an isolation chamber is available at the base in Bad-Vöslau, which can be used after a short lead time. "This is particularly advantageous in the case of intensive care transports, in order not to come into direct contact with the infectious patient," says chief emergency doctor Dr Matthias Stark.
In order to be alerted to emergency operations, Heli-Austria had to overcome some regional hurdles. Among other things, it was necessary to maintain the status as an ‘operational organisation’. For emergency operations, Martin-5 is now connected to the Lower Austrian rescue control centre 144 Lower Austria Emergency Call. This means the selection of the rescue or emergency doctor is made by the dispatchers on duty in the rescue control centre, depending on the severity of the emergency and the respective arrival time at the emergency location, regardless of the organisation of the operation.
Ops are carried out by base manager Captain Andy Pojer, Dr Stark and leading air rescuer Gernot Halbwirth.
Martin Flugrettung operates 10 emergency helicopter locations in Tyrol, Salzburg, and Upper and Lower Austria. It is flown with a modern fleet consisting of H135, H145 and MD902 Explorer helicopters. Every year, more than 4,000 rescue missions are carried out by Martin Flugrettung in Austria. Heli-Austria is one of the largest helicopter transport companies in Europe and has locations in Italy, Greece and Iceland, among others.
Martin-5 has already carried out several missions. After a very quiet first service on 27 April, with only one rescue operation in the evening, the crew was alerted at midday the following day for a mountain rescue operation in the municipality of Pfaffstätten, Baden. A hunting supervisor had not returned from his tour of the hunting area at the specified time, whereupon his brother-in-law alerted the emergency services and at the same time set off to find the missing hunter.
The missing person was found by his brother-in-law during the approach to the site. He had fallen from a height of around three metres and could no longer make an emergency call. Until the emergency doctor arrived, the injured person was cared for by six members of the mountain rescue at the Wienerwald-Süd local office and employees of the Red Cross. The 75-year-old was eventually rescued from the forest by the EC135 helicopter by means of a rope and flown to hospital in Baden with back injuries.
The head of operations at the Wienerwald-Süd mountain rescue, Gernot Bauer, praised the professional cooperation with the emergency services of Martin 5.