Robert Huber is a passionate flight rescuer. He began working for the Red Cross when he was young, and he came to Lower Austria because of love. Huber has been working for the ÖAMTC since 1999 and has now completed his 4,000th mission with the rescue helicopter. ORF Lower Austria editor Robert Friess spoke to him at his workplace in Krems about his career and the most demanding assignments.
noe.ORF.at: There are many paramedics, but how do you become a flight rescuer?
Huber: At the age of 17 I became a paramedic with the Red Cross in Salzburg, Flachgau Nord. When I was 20, I moved to Lower Austria with my wife. Then one thing led to another: I drove to the Red Cross Krems, ambulance and paramedic. Right next to the Red Cross building is the hospital where the emergency helicopter used to be. So the desire has grown to fly there myself.
noe.ORF.at: There have been more than 4,000 missions so far. Which one do you remember the most?
Huber: Of course, 4,000 is a lot of assignments. Then some will be remembered. Unfortunately, it’s always the tragic ones, especially when children are involved. If you work in the rescue service, or even in the fire brigade, you need some kind of mechanism to be able to handle such operations. Even if you’ve already flown 4,000 missions: With children, you nibble on it a little longer.
noe.ORF.at: But there are also positive sides. I found some newspaper articles where the people you rescued came here and thanked you.
Huber: Things happen that always show us why we’re doing it, these bright stars, these points where you then move from one assignment to the next: when people or patients visit us, where we say it worked , that’s why we do the ministry, that’s why we take certain risks.
noe.ORF.at: You are now 60 years old. How much longer do you want to be a flight rescuer?
Huber: Well, I’m not thinking about quitting yet. I feel good. Around between the ages of 50 and 55, I noticed that I was slowly becoming one of the older people. Because I was a few kilos overweight, I started running and this year I ran my first half marathon that I ran. Well, I don’t feel like I’m old-fashioned and I’d like to do it for another two years. If it were three years, so much the better.