A 30-year-old female experienced severe acute respiratory distress in her apartment assumed to be due to an allergic asthma. Upon arrival of the emergency physician at the scene the patient was unconscious and cyanotic. Auscultation yielded no respiratory sounds despite visible efforts of the patient. Mask ventilation was virtually impossible. Endotracheal intubation was performed but complicated by a distinct resistance. Ventilation remained difficult, despite antiobstructive medication and deep general anaesthesia. Fiberoptic bronchoscopy in the hospital finally showed a bulk of granulomatous tissue located just above the tracheal bifurcation. Here, the authors report a rare case of acute-onset respiratory distress due to Wegener's granulomatosis.