Luxembourg, 20 July 2013 - Although European Air Ambulance has only existed since 2006, its founding members celebrate landmark anniversaries in 2013.
It was in 19 March 1973 that DRF Luftrettung flew its first mission. The patient was an American lady involved in a traffic accident near Böblingen, southwest of Stuttgart. The Alouette III helicopter, flying out of Stuttgart civilian airport, reached the scene within minutes.
Since then, the distinctive red and white livery DRF Luftrettung helicopters and air ambulance aircraft have flown over 700,000 missions. They are, says DRF Luftrettung chairman Dr. Hans Jörg Eyrich, “an indispensible component of the German air rescue service.”
Yet the DRF Luftrettung was born of tragedy. Founder Siegfried Steiger was inspired to set up the rescue service following the death of his son Björn after it took an ambulance two hours to reach the scene of the bicycle accident.
15 years after its first mission, DRF Luftrettung would be instrumental in the establishment of Luxembourg’s one and only air ambulance service. Luxembourg Air Rescue (LAR) was the brainchild of René Closter, who was also inspired by a tragedy suffered by a young boy – a patient who lost a foot following an accident because the ground ambulance could not get to a specialist hospital in time.
Closter approached Steiger and, with the help of DRF Luftrettung, LAR was established in April 1988. Today LAR has 185,000 members and has flown over 25,000 missions. In addition to local air rescue missions, it is the sole operator of air transport of organs for transplants in France, and it flies repatriation missions and serves in humanitarian disaster areas all over the world.
“Our greatest strength is undoubtedly the commitment and professionalism of our staff,” says Closter. “We always say with pride ‘our people make the difference’.”
It is this invaluable experience and professional commitment that European Air Ambulance can count on to provide its customers with the best possible service for its own range of repatriation services.
The patient comes first for both DRF and LAR, and the same goes for EAA, which ensures that missions are meticulously prepared by flight control and executed using highly qualified and experienced medical and flight crew, no matter where in the world the patient is located.