DURBAN – A 34-year-old critically ill Indonesian man was airlifted to a Durban hospital at the weekend from a bulk-carrier motor vessel travelling on the east coast of Africa.
According to the National Sea Rescue Institute(NSRI) in Durban, the ship was speedily making its way towards the South African coastline when assistance was requested.
NSRI Durban deputy station commander Lorenzo Taverna-Turisan said that at 1pm on Saturday, NSRI Durban Airborne Sea Rescue (ASR) crew, SA Air Force (SAAF) 15 Squadron pilots and flight crew and Netcare 911 paramedics departed from the Air Force base aboard a SAAF Oryx helicopter to rendezvous with the carrier to airlift a critically ill patient to hospital.
He said the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre alerted Durban ASR and Netcare 911 on Friday evening to prepare for the mission.
Taverna-Turisan said a Western Cape Health EMS duty doctor had evaluated the patient’s condition via satellite phone.
“Medical advice for treatment for the patient was given to the ship's medics by the EMS duty doctor and it was deemed necessary for the patient to be evacuated to an appropriate medical facility as soon as possible,” he said.
He said NSRI Richards Bay was placed on alert while marine communications were assisted by Telkom Maritime Radio Services.
The SAAF Oryx helicopter rendezvoused with the motor vessel 45 nautical miles offshore of Richards Bay and an NSRI rescue swimmer and two Netcare 911 rescue paramedics were hoisted from the helicopter onto the ship’s deck, he said.
“The patient, a 34-year-old Indonesian man, was taken into the care of the rescue crew from the ship's medics.
“The patient was secured into a specialised stretcher accompanied by a rescue paramedic and the patient was hoisted into the helicopter followed by the two rescuers,” said Taverna-Turisan.
Taverna-Turisan said life support medical procedures were applied to the patient by the rescue paramedics and the patient was airlifted directly to a Durban hospital in a critical condition.