Home » News » Croatia’s lifesavers gear up for busy tourist season

Croatia’s lifesavers gear up for busy tourist season

Croatian Mountain Rescue Service

(Photo: HGSS)

ZAGREB,  7 July (Hina) – The Croatian Mountain Rescue Service, the acronym of which in Croatian is HGSS, is prepared for conducting a rising number of rescue operations with the tourist season reaching its peak soon.

The Croatian Mountain Rescue Service is a national, voluntary, professional and humanitarian association “dedicated to preventing accidents, and providing rescue and first aid services in mountains and other hardly accessible or inaccessible areas as well as in extraordinary circumstances which require special know-how and equipment for preserving human, material and environmental resources,” according to the information on its website.

There are 25 mountain rescue teams across the entire territory of the Republic of Croatia.

HGSS executive officer Marko Rakovac has said in an interview with HINA that travellers, both foreign and local, should get informed of all aspects of their trips in the countryside, rural and mountainous areas as well as when they sail at sea, before embarking on such trips.

Despite the HGSS activities such as frequent interesting public information and educational campaigns on the social networks, a number of their rescue operations is on the rise.

For instance, in 1998 , the HGSS performed 96 operations, and in 2023, it conducted 1,139 interventions plus 800 preventative activities, said Rakovac.

Croatian Mountain Rescue Service helicopter duty starts earliest in its history

(Photo: HGSS)

Almost a half of those interventions were search operations for missing individuals last year, he says.

Interventions in aftermath of natural disasters, rescue of stranded migrants

HGSS teams are also active in efforts to deal with the aftermath of natural disasters, such as earthquakes, summer storms wildfires etc.

In the recent years, there have been more and more HGSS operations to rescue illegal migrants stranded or lost in an unfamiliar area. while they are trying to enter Croatia at rugged terrains.

Croatian rescuers included in international operations

Croatian rescuers have been also included in international operations.

In September 2023, twenty-two HGSS personnel participated in the rescue operation of American cave explorer Mark Dickey who was on an international exploration mission in the Morca cave in southern Turkey when he became trapped at a depth of more than 1,000 metres after suddenly falling seriously ill.

In 2014, HGSS teams were engaged in the operation of pulling a German cave explorer from Germany’s deepest pit cave. Caver Johann Westhauser was trapped for 11 days at a depth of 1,148 metres in the Riesending-Schachthohle cave system, on Mount Untersberg in the Berchtesgaden Alps, after suffering a head injury from a rockfall.

He was safely brought back to the surface by a team of rescuers from Italy, Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Croatia.

Croatian Mountain Rescue Service helicopter duty starts earliest in its history

(Photo: HGSS)

The HGSS says on its website that it “works in close cooperation with state authorities and local and regional self-government units, institutions, the Croatian Armed Forces, health care and social welfare institutions, the Croatian Mountaineering Association and other legal and natural persons from the field of culture, physical education and sports, tourism, protection of nature and environment as well as transport.”

It also cooperates closely with public institutions and nature protection bodies responsible for the protection and preservation of nature and environment of mountains.

Croatian Mountain Rescue Service helicopter duty starts earliest in its history

(Photo: HGSS)

Rakovac: Croatia safe country

Rakovac recalls that Croatia, a country with 3.8 million strong population, annually receives about 20 million visitors, and that taking these figures into consideration, one can say that Croatia is a safe country.

He, however, urges authorities to continue investing in this aspect, explaining that safety and security can make  Croatia additionally attractive to foreign travellers and holiday-makers.

Sign up to receive the Croatia Week Newsletter

Related Posts