Ian Gray, NSRI Port Elizabeth station commander, said:
At 12h00, Wednesday, 06th June, NSRI Port Elizabeth duty crew were activated by the SA Air Force 15 Squadron Charlie Flight following their activation by MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) to patient evacuate 2 injured sailors from the bulk carrier MV KS Flora, reported to be sailing towards East London.
NSRI were able to determine that a Government Health EMS duty doctor had evaluated the 2 injured sailors onboard by radio telephone communications. A 41 year old man Filipino and a 27 year old man from Manila. An urgent patient evacuation was established.
Both men had been injured onboard during rough sea conditions, one suffering a fractured left leg, suspected to be a fractured Tibila and Fibula, and one suffering a left ankle injury.
An NSRI rescue swimmer accompanied by an EC Government Health EMS rescue paramedic boarded a SAAF 15 Squadron Charlie Flight BK-117 helicopter at 13h00 and the helicopter rendezvoused with the ship 7 nautical miles off-shore of East London in rough seas with 3 to 4 meter swells and a 15 to 20 knot Easterly wind.
The EMS rescue paramedic and the NSRI rescue swimmer were hoisted onto the ship and were led to where the 2 patients were being kept onboard the ship.
In an operation lasting 40 minutes, during which time the helicopter flew around the ship in a holding pattern, both patients were stabilised onboard.
The patient with the fractured leg was secured into a Baumann’s basket stretcher and hoisted into the helicopter and the patient with the ankle injury was hoisted into the helicopter in a strop accompanied by the NSRI rescue swimmer.
Once all patients and the EMS rescue paramedic and the NSRI rescue swimmer were in the helicopter the patients were airlifted to East London Airport in stable conditions.
At East London Airport both patients were taken into the care of Aldersons Ambulance Services paramedics and they have been transported to hospital in stable conditions for further treatment and the helicopter returned to Port Elizabeth.
The operation was completed at 16h00.
Earlier this week, on Monday, 04 June, at 18h00, NSRI Port Elizabeth dispatched the sea rescue craft Spirit of Toft to rendezvous with the MV Vishva Preeti off Port Elizabeth in Nelson Mandela Bay, sailing from Argentina to Port Elizabeth, to patient evacuate a 28 year old woman crew member suffering a suspected miscarriage.
The patient, in a stable condition and accompanied by her husband, was taken onboard our sea rescue craft in the care of the EMS rescue paramedic and brought into Port and transported to hospital by EMS ambulance.