20th March 2010 – Four people riding snowmobiles in the mountains approximately 25km South-West of FOCA, Bosnia and Herzegovina, were caught in an avalanche in the early evening of 20th March. A rescue mission was soon underway, and a request was received from the National Authorities and the EUPM, for the assistance of EUFOR in ensuring the fastest possible transfer of the casualties to hospital.
The operations team at EUFOR HQ in Camp Butmir, Sarajevo, quickly acted on the request and, with the approval of COMEUFOR, Major General Bernhard Bair, one of the Austrian S70 Blackhawk helicopters was soon en route to the scene of the incident. Due to the nature of the terrain, the helicopter was unable to land at the site, and instead used its winch to extract the four casualties, who were rapidly and safely delivered to Sarajevo Hospital where all received appropriate care. The entire operation was carried out in darkness, but the capabilities of the Austrian pilots and helicopter ensured that this did not hamper the mission.
EUFOR Althea is primarily a military mission, ensuring the maintenance of the safe and secure environment in BiH but it is proud to remain a positive presence in the country in other ways, having the personnel and the equipment to assist the people and the National Authorities in dealing with serious incidents.
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