The GSS and the MUP of Serbia conducted a joint helicopter rescue exercise on Kopaonik

foto: GSS/Vladimir Vilimonović

Members of the helicopter unit of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Serbia and rescuers from the Mountain Rescue Service conducted a joint helicopter rescue exercise from the Orlove stene (Eagle Rocks) on Kopaonik.

Nine rescuers from the Mountain Rescue Service participated in the exercise, and the evacuation of an injured person from inaccessible terrain was practiced. According to the given scenario, the rescuers were lowered onto the rock by helicopter using a side crane, and then prepared the injured for transport and evacuated him safely.

This could be a real situation in which injured mountaineers would be rescued, but also victims of a traffic accident in one of the gorges or canyons, or any person injured in an inaccessible location that is more than an hour away from a medical facility.

“We were evacuating the injured from a steep rock, in mountainous conditions, with all the elements that such an environment brings. The most important thing is that the exercise was successfully carried out, and now we know that together with the members of the MUP helicopter unit, we can safely evacuate from a very narrow space, be it a rock, the top of a tall chimney, a crane, or a bridge pylon, or any similar inaccessible place, which conventional rescue methods would have taken a long time, and the question is whether it would have ended safely, both for the victim and the rescuer, explained Branislav Ćurčin, a rescuer from the Mountain Rescue Service of Serbia.

Thanks to the great experience, and the efforts of the pilots and mechanics of the helicopter unit of the Ministry of Interior of Serbia, the rescuers were landed on the first attempt at the desired location, which was on a cliff.

Additional immobilization of the injured person was performed there, and he was then placed in a stretcher specialized for helicopter transport and prepared for evacuation. The injured person was then transferred to the helipad, on Kopaonik, and if there was really a need, if this was a real situation and not an exercise, the injured person could have flown directly to one of the Clinical Centers throughout Serbia.

“The rescues carried out by rescuers of the Mountain Rescue Service, usually due to the inaccessibility of the terrain, are always long-lasting and physically demanding. The cooperation between our service and the MUP helicopter unit drastically shortens the time for rescuers to be at the scene of the accident, take care of the injured and evacuate him to the nearest health facility,” said Marko Avdić, rescuer of the Mountain Rescue Service.

Helicopter rescue is one of the most technically complex types of rescue that requires constant training and coordination of the helicopter pilot and crew with the mountain rescuers. Until now, GSS helicopter rescuers practiced such demanding scenarios at specialist trainings in Switzerland, Germany and Romania, but not in Serbia. This is, so far, the most complex heli-rescue task performed in our field with our crews. It turned out that, in practice, the task was successfully completed.

The Mountain Rescue Service has signed an agreement with the Directorate of Civil Aviation, for the purposes of search and rescue in civil aviation, as well as an agreement with the Public Enterprise “Skijališta Srbije” and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, which defines rescue procedures and the use of helicopters for emergency medical transport of injured skiers and guests of the Kopaonik ski center. This exercise was the result of efforts to increase the ability of the entire system for search and rescue in inaccessible terrain, as well as the efforts of our service to train as many members as possible for all types of rescue.
photo: GSS/Dimitrije Ostojić and Vladimir Vilimonović