In many regions of Spain and depending on the circumstances, the costs associated with search and rescue are passed on to those who need it. It has been the subject of intense media coverage in recent years.
Tenerife News: Reckless behaviour will cost you dear.
The new rule which allows the Canary government to charge for rescues caused by “reckless actions” is beginning to bite.
The rules identify a wide range of activities and sports which could be deemed risky such as climbing, quad biking, bungee jumping, canyoning, microlight flights, paragliding, surfing, water ski-ing and caving amongst others.
The government would look at the circumstances before deciding whether to charge or not. Factors will include ignoring warning signs or bans or not having the right equipment. Fines vary depending on the extent of the rescue and the number of people in the group but could be as much as 12,000 euros for bigger parties.
Catalonia to start charging for mountain rescue
As if getting lost in the mountains wasn't bad enough, hikers who lose their way in Catalonia from October will now be charged for their rescue.
The Spanish region announced this week that people deemed to have got into trouble in the mountains through their own negligence should foot the bill for their rescue.
The charges imposed will range from €300 to as much as €70,000 in line with the cost of the resources used and the number of days needed for the rescue.
Spain to charge for rescue services
The Basque regional government is following the example of Catalonia in 2009 and will start charging for mountain rescue if a law currently going through parliament is approved. They cite the increasing number of operations and the costs to provide a good service and a number of abuses, such as people calling in helicopters just because they are tired.
Catalonia only bills where the rescue is due to negligence. In the Spanish Basque country the law will be more wide ranging. First of all it will apply to the following list of what they describe as “high risk” sports[.] The Basque government recommends that everyone visiting the region is properly covered by insurance.
Victims will only be charged if they are on a “high-risk routes” or go to the mountains in bad weather such as “snow, fog, wind or extreme temperatures.”. High risk routes covers areas which are identified as hazardous or where there are bans or restrictions. Weather conditions will apply to where there is an Orange or Red weather alert (these correspond roughly to avalanche risks of 4 and 5). Any rescue where there is no justification will also be charged. This last point may lead to delays in calling mountain rescue until it is too late.
Charges will be € 2,244 per hour for helicopter time, € 76.50 / hour for a motor vehicle and € 37 / hour for each rescue worker.
Navarra to charge for rescues caused by imprudence
Navarra thus joins the list of regions that have put a price on the bailouts. Cataluña was the first to do so in 2009, was followed by the Basque Country in 2011, and to date Cantabria, Asturias, Castilla & León and Valencia have joined the initiative.
Spokesmen from the NSA explained that each case would be studied separately, but they said that by "imprudence" is understood "recklessly disregarding weather alerts" or "not being properly equipped in a particular context." ...
The price for a rescue evacuation by helicopter ascends to 1,400 euros. However, this is not the actual cost of aircraft utilization, since the government of Navarra explained that the true cost for sending a helicopter crew, a pilot, a doctor and a nurse, costs just over 2,000 euros. For this reason, they explain, the rates are designed to be dissuasive and not a means of collecting revenue.