Cape Town – Tuesday, 09th October, 2012. Heart attack patient casualty evacuated off fishing vessel:
At 08h30 on Tuesday, 09th October our Sea Rescue Helicopter Unit volunteer duty crew, the WC Provincial Government Health Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and the South African Air Force Squadron 22 (SAAF Squadron 22) were activated following authorization granted for a 36 year old Cape Town fisherman, suspected to be suffering a heart attack, to be casualty evacuated from the 37 meter Viking Fishing Stern Trawler African Queen, 40 nautical miles South of Cape Point.
Andre Beuster, Sea Rescue Helicopter Unit station commander said that Initially, last night (Monday, 08th October), the EMS duty doctor had evaluated the patients condition, by radio telephone, and at that stage the patient was reported to be stable. It had been arranged that an EMS ambulance would stand-by at Cape Towns Table Bay Port to receive the patient at 15h00 today when the vessel docked routinely. However on further evaluation by the EMS doctor this morning the patients condition had deteriorated overnight and authorization was granted for an immediate helicopter rescue mission.
One SAAF Squadron 22 Oryx helicopter piloted by Major JP Bothma, and co-pilot Major Jan Agenbag, and flight engineer Seargant Gerard Usher and crewed by EMS Doctor Clive Hendricks, EMS rescue paramedic Shahid Osman, rescue officer Andre Beuster, rescue swimmer Kim Germishuys, and stand-by rescue swimmer Garth Roberts, became airborne from Air Force Base Ysterplaat at 09h05.
On arrival on-scene in choppy rough sea swells of 3 meters and a gusting up to 40 knots South Easterly wind NSRI rescue swimmer Kim Germishuys and EMS rescue paramedic Shahid Osman were winch hoisted from the helicopter onto the foredeck of the vessel and they stabilized the patient who was then hoisted into the helicopter.
The rescue operation was made particularly difficult by the rough weather, causing the vessel to roll and pitch, and by limited space on the foredeck (only the foredeck had enough space to be used as a platform – although limited in space) on this particular vessel space was further impeded by the foremast and deck rigging.
The patient received further treatment in the helicopter en-route back to Air Force Base Ysterplaat where on arrival, at 10h20, he was transferred into an EMS ambulance and transported to the Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital in a stable but serious condition.