At 01h30 on Wednesday the 01st of May, NSRI were alerted by the Inchcape shipping agents of a sailor injured onboard the container ship Rickmers Malaysia. He had suffered serious blunt-force trauma injuries – a left femur fracture, a suspected hip fracture and stomach injuries sustained after being struck by a crane hook block while working on the ship.
The ship, sailing from the Port of Algeciras, Spain, to Durban, was due to be 7 nautical miles off Green Point, Cape Town, by 08h00 today – Wednesday, 01st May.
Phil Ress, NSRI helicopter coordinator said: “It was decided by the WC Government Health EMS duty doctor that immediate casualty evacuation was necessary. The seriousness of the patient’s condition and the large size of the ship, suggested that a helicopter rescue operation was the best method.
Authorization was given for the Red Cross AMS Skymed helicopter, accompanied by WC Government Health EMS rescue paramedics and a NSRI rescue swimmer, to carry out the rescue operation at first light”.
Due to dense fog, the Skymed helicopter was unable to get the rescue team on board and the mission was aborted pending the fog lifting. The ship attempted to find clear pockets in amongst the fog in the vicinity of the Milnerton coastline while Skymed stood by at the landing pad at Groote Schuur Hospital.
At approximately 10h30 the rescue team consisting of two EMS rescue paramedics and the NSRI rescue swimmer, were able to be hoisted onto the ship and as the fog closed in again, the helicopter diverted to the landing pad at Groote Schuur Hospital. In the meantime the rescuers treated the patient.
NSRI Bakoven’s sea rescue boat was on-scene as a safety boat and NSRI Table Bay sea rescue craft remained on alert. The rescue team stabilized and packaged the patient (securing the patient into a specialized rescue stretcher) but by midday fog was still too dense for the patient to be hoisted into the helicopter and NSRI Table Bay’s sea rescue boat was dispatched. The patient was lowered onto the sea rescue boat using a crane on the ship.
Once on-board the sea rescue boat the patient, a 25 year old man from The Republic of China, was brought to the NSRI Table Bay sea rescue station, where they were met by an EMS ambulance. The patient has been transported to The Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital in a serious but stable condition for further treatment.
Photographs are available for media down load on Sea Rescue’s Flickr page.