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Swiss Knives Stories

American admiral’s life saved

The Victorinox knife repeatedly turns up in stories about aircraft. In one case, following a tragic crash, it enabled a passenger to free himself from the burning wreckage. On another occasion the little red knife saved an American admiral’s life by being used to repair an oxygen mask. Without this he would have crashed into the Atlantic. Reports on these events were received at Ibach.

Seat belts cut through

The following happened to Helmut Knosp from Freiburg in Breisgau, Germany::

«On 31 March I crashed into the French Voges on a flight from Reims, France to Freiburg in a four-seater sporting aircraft. My three companions were killed on the spot. I escaped with a few broken bones in my arms and legs and other minor injuries. My life was saved thanks to a Swiss Army Officer’s pocket-knife made by your company. With the help of the knife I was able to free myself from the crumpled, burning machine by cutting through the seat belt and then cutting my way through the plastic trim and forcing my way out of the window. Since then I have named the knife, my constant companion for many years, ‘my lifesaver’ because without it I would no longer be alive.»

Oxygen mask repaired

The Army Officer’s Knife from Victorinox also saved the life of an American admiral, on this occasion over the Atlantic. The high-ranking officer wrote to Ibach saying:

«I have carried my Victorinox friend with me since I started flying 23 years ago. One dark night, in 1988, halfway across the Atlantic I needed it to repair the broken oxygen mask. If I hadn’t had the knife with me I would have been left with no choice but to fly much lower to enable me to breathe. However, this would have meant that the fuel would then not have been sufficient to reach the airport on the Azores (because of increased air resistance). I could have remained at high altitude, but this would have been very dangerous as I could have passed out through lack of oxygen. Neither alternative was a tenable option. Thanks to your super knife I was able to complete my flight safely and as planned.»

In 1966 a female American customer sent a Victorinox knife to Ibach for repair and wrote: «Our son bought this knife eight years ago in Switzerland. He was ten years old and it was his first trip to Europe. He had earned the money for it himself and the knife was all that he wanted to bring home from Europe. The following Summer he took it on a camping trip to a site on the Canadian border where he lost it. He was obviously very upset by this. The next Summer he returned to the camp and found the knife purely by accident when diving in quite deep water. He could hardly believe it because it was still in the same condition as it had been when he lost it the year before. So you can understand why we would very much like to have it repaired.»

Cockpit window repaired

The second story involves a knife which travelled thousands of kilometres on journeys all round the world and continued to give good service.

«Although it has taken me a long time to get round to sending this letter, I would like to thank you for repairing my knife. It was returned in 1975 in almost the same condition as when I purchased it in 1959», writes Milton B. Mann in his letter to the world-famous company in Ibach.

«This is tremendous service and I cannot tell you how pleased I am with it. This knife represents a unique piece of my life history. It has accompanied me on numerous journeys through 71 countries, has travelled millions of kilometres with me and has been used for almost every task you could possibly imagine. Recently for example, during a refresher test I had to pass as a pilot, the examiner pointed out to me that one of the screws on the cockpit window was loose and he couldn’t close it. The wind was blowing into the cockpit. I told him that there was a screwdri ver on my pocket-knife. But he replied that he needed a Philips screwdriver, a special tool for this kind of screw. The examiner was amazed when I showed him my pocket-knife which also had this particular kind of screwdriver attachment and the problem was solved.»


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