A KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board employee had to be airlifted to hospital after he began experiencing chest pains whilst out at sea earlier today. Picture: IPSS Medical Rescue

Durban - A KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board employee had to be airlifted to hospital after he began experiencing chest pains whilst out at sea earlier today. 

The man was believed to have been aboard a vessel and conducting routine work on offshore shark nets when he became gravely ill. 

IPSS Medical Rescue, Paul Herbst, said fortunately the skipper on board is first aid trained and was able to recognise what was going on. The skipper then alerted IPSS for assistance. 

"A unit was dispatched to meet the vessel at Zinkwazi Beach. Upon consultation, advanced life support practitioners ascertained that the man was experiencing an acute cardiac emergency and worked to stabilise the patient, whilst requesting aero-medical support," he said. 

Herbst said the Black Eagle/IPSS aero-medical helicopter mobilised and landed nearby, before airlifting the patient to Lenmed Ethekweni Hospital and Heart Centre. The patient underwent emergency surgery shortly after landing. 

"This case is a good example of access to definitive care where circumstances allow for it. Flying time from scene to hospital was seventeen minutes. Thirteen minutes after landing at Lenmed Ethekweni Hospital, a Heart, Stroke and Renal Centre of Excellence the patient was assessed by specialist physicians and prepped for complex case management," Herbst said. 

Herbst added that is was commendable that members of the KZN Sharks Board who were able to assist a colleague in need of urgent assistance, owing to proficient first-aid training. He added that their vigilance saved their colleague's life. 

Daily News