On March 12, the official launch of the rescue stretcher, Huiña, developed for the Rescue Commission (CAX, in Spanish) of the Club Andino Bariloche (CAB, in Spanish) took place at INVAP's headquarters in San Carlos de Bariloche. The meeting was attended by authorities from the Rescue Commission, the Club Andino Bariloche and INVAP, as well as members of the local press.
The Huiña stretcher was voluntarily designed by a group of INVAP's workers in response to a need of the CAX to use it in rescues of different kinds. The prototype has already been technically approved and is now in its field testing stage.
With the boom of adventure tourism, more and more people are practising recreational activities in wild areas of difficult access throughout the year, thus increasing the rate of accidents in the region. The CAX together with the group of Forest Fires, Communications and Emergencies (ICE, in Spanish) dependent on the National Parks Administration, responsible for rescues, must deal with emergencies in difficult access areas across a wide variety of terrains, often with inclement weather and carrying heavy weights for long days.
The final design was selected among five proposals made by different groups of engineers, designers and technicians, who participated in an in-house voluntary contest to present their projects. These complied with all the requirements that the Patagonian region demands and achieved a resistant, light and highly versatile product. The Huiña stretcher has a high-impact polyethylene and aluminum alloys structure used in the aeronautical industry. It consists of two identical trays joined together in only one piece to which several implements can be added, such as handles and wheels for transport on mountain paths, ski handles for snow descent, a harness to fasten the victim for ascent along steep mountain walls or even when hoisted by a helicopter. It can also float carrying a person if needed.
After the acquisition of the first prototype, Huiña passed all the laboratory tests scheduled by INVAP's engineers much better than expected and is now in its field testing stage in charge of the rescuers. The next objective is to produce more units so as to supply stretchers to every institution, commission, mountain refuge or area that may need it; thus making the mountain a safer place.
Club Andino Bariloche