At 10h00 (Saturday, 28th September) NSRI Helicopter Rescue Unit crew, the SA Air Force 22 Squadron and WC Government Health EMS were activated by MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) to prepare to respond to 150 nautical miles off-shore of Cape Point following a request for medical assistance from the 220 meter bulk carrier POPLAR ARROW reporting a 37 year old Chinese crewman onboard suspected to have suffered a heart attack.
The ship is believed to be sailing from Brazil to the East (destination unknown to NSRI).
Earlier in the day MRCC arranged for the WC Government Health EMS duty doctor to evaluate the patient’s medical condition by satellite phone and it was deemed necessary for the patient to be airlifted to hospital as soon as possible.
Two SAAF 22 Squadron Oryx helicopters lifted off from Air Force Base Ysterplaat at midday.
On arrival on-scene, in 6 meter swells and a 30 knot South westerly wind, NSRI rescue swimmer Kim Germishuys and WC Government Health EMS rescue paramedic Zane Johnson were hoisted onto the ship where they stabilized the patient who is in a serious but stable condition.
The patient was secured into a Medivac specialized hoisting stretcher and hoisted into the helicopter.
Kim and Zane were then also hoisted into the helicopter and medical treatment of the patient continued onboard the helicopter. On arrival at Air Force Base Ysterplaat the patient was transferred into a waiting EMS ambulance and transported to hospital for further treatment.
The rescue operation was completed at 14h50.
pics: Dave Roberts