Großglockner rescue helicopter crash and miracle escape caught on camera

The dramatic video of a helicopter crashing during a mountain rescue operation on Großglockner, Austria's highest peak. Miraculously everyone escaped practically unharmed. Vittorio Messini, Mountain Guide and member of the Austrian Alpine Rescue, provides insight into the accident.
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The Austrian mountain rescue helicopter a few seconds before crashing against the rocks on Großglockner
Peter Trenkwalder

On Tuesday, August 1, a frightening accident up on Großglockner in Austria could have ended in tragedy, but miraculously all those involved escaped practically unharmed. During a rescue operation shortly after 20:00 at Adlersruhe at 3450 meters, a helicopter lost control and crashed violently into the rocks. The cause of the accident is still under investigation, but in the amateur video one can clearly make out Toni Riepler, the hut warden at the nearby Erzherzog-Johann-Hütte, as he dives below the rotor as the helicopter sways out of control. He, the pilot, the paramedic, the flight technician and the patient remained virtually unharmed. It’s worth noting that on the other side of the rocks, there’s a 300 meter drop...

Vittorio Messini, Mountain Guide and member of the Austrian Mountain Rescue Squad, happened to be there and provided with the following testimony.

"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.

At the moment it is unclear if there was pilot error or if the gusty wind caused the accident.

The landing place at that exposed spot - there’s a 300 meter vertical drop on the other side - has often been used in the past.

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…"

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