Follow-up: Sea Rescue – Cape Town Sunday, 24 October, 2010. Sea Rescue operation successful. Andre Beuste, NSRI Sea Rescue helicopter Unit (SRHU) station commander, said: The sea rescue operation (see press release below), to evacuate an ill Captain off his ship, got underway at 13h00 today after a SAAF 35 Squadron Dakota located the gas tanker ship St James Park 150 nautical miles off Cape Town and the confirmed that sea and weather conditions were conducive for the rescue operation to go ahead. “Just after 13h00 today two SAAF 22 Squadron helicopters, each carrying two SAAF pilots, a SAAF engineer, an NSRI rescue swimmer and a Metro EMS paramedic, (one of the helicopters also carrying a relief Captain to be dropped off at the ship to take over the duties of the ill Captain), lifted off from Air Force Base Ysterplaat and arrived on-scene an hour and a half later (after being directed to the ship by the 35 Squadron Dakota which remained circling above the scene throughout the rescue operation). “NSRI rescue swimmer Warren Pearson and Metro EMS paramedic Farouk Lutta, were lowered by winch onto the deck of the ship where they assessed the patient, a 50 year old Ukrainian National, who was then secured into a harness and hoisted into the helicopter. “The relief Captain was then hoisted from the second helicopter onto the deck of the ship and the NSRI rescue swimmer was recovered from the ship. “Following the successful transfer of the relief Captain and the successful loading of the ill Captain both of the 22 Squadron helicopters and the 35 Squadron Dakota returned to Air Force Base Ysterplaat where they were met by a Metro EMS ambulance and the patient has been transferred to hospital for further treatment.”
Please see original media release below… Sea Rescue – Cape Town – Sunday, 24 October, 2010. Ship’s Captain suffering a medical complaint to be casualty evacuated in a rescue operation. Andre Beuste, NSRI Sea Rescue Helicopter Unit (SRHU) station commander, said: “At 16h00 on Friday, 22nd October, MRCC (the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) tasked the NSRI’s Sea Rescue helicopter Unit team, the South African Air Force (SAAF) 35 Squadron and 22 Squadron (both of Air Force Base Ysterplaat) and Metro EMS (Emergency Medical and Rescue Service) to prepare a joint rescue operation to rendezvous with the 140 metre gas tanker St James Park to casualty evacuate the ship’s Captain, believed to be suffering acute renal failure, to a hospital in Cape Town. “MRCC instructed the ship, at the time in deep-sea off the South African coast, and beyond range of a rescue mission, to make best speed in the direction of Cape Town while a Metro EMS duty doctor relayed medical advice to the ships medic to assist with stabilizing their Captain. “It was determined, based on sea conditions, speed of the ship and weather conditions, that the ship would be approximately 150 nautical miles off-shore of the Cape Town coast by Sunday midday, within range of a helicopter rescue operation. “Plans, beginning immediately on Friday afternoon, were set in motion for a SAAF 35 Squadron Dakota (fixed wing aircraft) to fly to locate and meet the ship on Sunday morning and then to guide the two SAAF 22 Squadron Oryx helicopters to the ships position at around midday on Sunday. “Each helicopter is accompanied by two SAAF pilots, a SAAF engineer, an NSRI rescue swimmer and a Metro EMS paramedic. “Arrangements were made through the ships Cape Town agent, Synergy Freight International Pty (Ltd), for a relief Captain to be airlifted to the ship as part of the rescue mission. “The relief Captain, flying into Cape Town International Airport on Sunday morning will be taken onboard one of the SAAF 22 Squadron Oryx helicopters and delivered to the ship to replace the ill Captain – during the rescue operation. “This morning, Sunday, 24th October, with the ship St James Park reporting to be on schedule (to be approximately 150 nautical miles off-shore of cape Town by around 13h00 today), the rescue operation sprang into action and the SAAF 35 Squadron Dakota aircraft will lift off from Air Force Base Ysterplaat at 11h00 to fly to locate the ship some 150 nautical miles off-shore and the two SAAF 22 Squadron Oryx helicopters are standing by for takeoff to rendezvous with the ship once it is located by the 35 Squadron team. “The two SAAF 22 Squadron helicopters will be directed to the ship by the SAAF 35 Squadron Dakota (which will stay on-scene during the rescue operation to aid in communications and aerial support. “The patient, a 50 year old male, (Nationality not yet determined) is reportedly in a stable but serious condition.” A follow-up media release will be issued on the completion of the rescue mission. Attempts will be made to get photographic images and video footage of the rescue.