Mountain rescue services issue another safety appeal to hikers

Kranj, 12 August - Slovenia's police airborne unit, which has been working 24/7 in the flood relief efforts the past week, issued an appeal to hikers and mountaineers to choose their routes carefully after a very busy day of mountain rescue mission on Friday.

Mountain rescue crew in a police helicopter.
Photo: Kranj Police Deaprtment
File photo

"The number of mountain rescue interventions is quickly returning to pre-flood levels and indicating a breakneck pace for August," the Kranj Police Department said in a press release, also announcing stricter control in the mountains.

All available police and military helicopters have been helping in the flooding rescue and relief efforts for days and people were advised to stay away from the mountains, as terrain has become much more dangerous in some parts due to extreme rainfall of the past weekend.

Now, people seem to be returning to the mountains and many, mostly foreign tourists, find themselves in need of assistance.

Last year more than half of those who required the assistance of mountain rescue teams, which are transported by military and police choppers, were foreign tourists, who often underestimate Slovenian mountains.

Yesterday alone, a single police chopper that was designated for mountain rescue services for the day, carried out five rescue missions, aiding seven people, with at least four of them being foreign nationals.

Talking to Radio Slovenia on Friday, Klemen Belhar, the head of the Mountain Rescue Association, once again advised against hiking in the mountains, above all in the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, Koroška, and mountains around Jesenice and Škofja Loka.

"Time isn't right for ambitious expeditions. Opt for routes that are less risky," he told the public broadcaster. Many paths have been damaged or destroyed by water and debris, he said.

Hikers should inquire about the state of the paths before heading out and if they reach a point where the path was damaged, "they should turn around. Who knows what might await them higher up the mountain."

© STA, 2023