REGA is a privately run Swiss rescue service which functions as an independent unit of the Swiss Red Cross. The acronym comes from the German/French/Italian words for air-rescue, REttungsflugwacht/Garde Aerienne/Guarda Aerea. If you ski, hike, or climb in the Swiss mountains, you will likely see a couple of REGA's fire engine red helicopters and airplanes around.
REGA treats and rescues stranded folks from remote mountain-sides in Switzerland and Lichtenstein all year-round. REGA's mostly known for rescuing skiers and climbers from dangerous falls or avalanches. They also fly seriously ill Swiss nationals back to Switzerland and consult with others in the search and rescue field. In fine Swiss tradition, they regularly airlift sick cows from their summer grazing grounds in the Alps
REGA has been using helicopters since the 50s, and are a paragon of Swiss efficiency. They have a website with beautiful pictures at www.rega.ch. The Swiss post office released a holographic stamp to commemorate REGA's 50th anniversary. REGA is funded largely by voluntary donations.