On August 1, 2017, a mountain-rescue helicopter attempted an extraction on the Adlersruhe (3,450 meters) below the summit of Großglockner (3,798 meters), Austria’s highest peak. Shortly after the helicopter picked up a patient, it lost control and crashed on the edge of the 300-meter cliff. The cause of the accident is still under investigation.
According to local news sources, the pilot, flight technician, paramedic and patient survived the crash with only minor injuries. Toni Riepler, the hut warden at the nearby Erzherzog-Johann-Hütte who helped the patient into the heli, managed to escape the helicopter’s rotor.
In an interview with planetmountain.com, Vittorio Messini, a mountain guide and member of the Austrian Mountain Rescue Squad who was on scene, said, “It was absolutely incredible, just like a horror film. Those involved had THE luck of their lives and thank God we can say that in the end ‘nothing happened’.
“The patient needed to be flown down and so he was transported north of Adlersruhe, circa 50 vertical meters higher, and picked up about 30 minutes later by another helicopter. There’s a safer landing place up there, but quite far away…”