The helicopter Search and Rescue system, RECCO SAR, is since July 15 operational in Valais, Switzerland, and Aosta Valley, Italy. After the launch last year the detector has been improved – significantly smaller and more effective. Improvements well received amongst rescuers. The RECCO SAR gives popular outdoor regions an efficient tool to search for missing people year-round. The plan is to place an additional 13 detectors until the end of the year


“The RECCO SAR detector is not only useful for rescue missions in high altitude terrain. For us, missing hikers, mushroom pickers e t c, in lower forest areas, are a much bigger and more frequent problem,” says Adriano Favre at the rescue organization Soccorso Alpino Valdostano in Aosta Valley.  “Each year we spend considerable resources on such rescue missions.”

RECCO SAR is based on the same technology as the company’s global avalanche rescue system. RECCO’s development team has succeeded to develop a helicopter carried detector with a further improved antenna providing a wider search signal compared to RECCO’s handheld detector, used for avalanche and crevasse rescue. With the SAR detector large areas can be searched with a helicopter at up to 200 km/h. The new detector is also suitable for searching in avalanche and glacier accidents. In other words, the RECCO system has expanded to cover all sorts of outdoor activities, year-round.


The new RECCO SAR detector model is a result of tests conducted together with Air Zermatt and several other rescue organizations.  The result of the continued development is a new detector that is a third of the size of the original SAR detector. The weight is down to 80 kg (40 kg without batteries), a diameter of 55 cm and it is 40 cm high. The smaller size makes the detector easier to handle. The helicopter crew can, if necessary, transport the detector inside the helicopter, saving both fuel and time.

Two new detectors are now placed in Zermatt and Aosta for search and rescue missions in the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc areas, but they can also be utilized in other mountain and forest areas in Switzerland and Italy.
“Until the end of the year an additional 13 detectors will be placed throughout Europe, in areas with extensive outdoor activities,” says Johan Sauer, Vice President RECCO AB.

Find updates on the RECCO SAR system’s expansion on



Since the basic technology is the same, older models of RECCO-reflectors, integrated in garment and equipment, works together with the new RECCO SAR detector. It means that all outdoor products with RECCO reflectors are searchable by both types of RECCO detectors.

“Our chances to save lives increases dramatically if the victims wear RECCO reflectors in boots or other outdoors equipment” says Bruno Jelk at Mountain Rescue Zermatt. “When searching in forest areas and during hours of darkness, it has previously been almost impossible to locate a missing person from a helicopter. Our only option then has been to employ large search parties and dogs, which is a very slow and labor-intensive method. With the new RECCO SAR detector new opportunities to use helicopters in the search are opened.”
To optimize the helicopter search with the RECCO SAR detector, the work is in progress to develop reflectors with a longer search range.

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Johan Sauer, VP
Tel: +46 (0)70 655 95 99
Radiovägen 3A
181 55 Lidingö, Sweden


RECCO® is an avalanche rescue system utilized by more than 800 rescue organizations worldwide to facilitate the rapid location of burials. The two-part system consists of a detector used by organized rescue groups and reflectors that are integrated into apparel, helmets, protection gear or boots. Together they enable directional pinpointing of a victim’s precise location using harmonic radar but are not a substitute for a transceiver. Complementary in function, the system is an additional tool that does not interfere with avalanche dogs, transceiver searches or probe lines. The RECCO® system facilitates a faster organized search and increases the chance of being found in time. RECCO AB was founded in 1983 and is owned by its founder Magnus Granhed and the publicly traded investment company Traction AB (listed on OMX Nordic Exchange Stockholm). More info on: