LOOK: Passenger airlifted off Queen Mary 2 in medical emergency

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Apr 3, 2020

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Durban - A 58-year-old British passenger was airlifted off the Queen Mary 2 off the Wild Coast in heavy seas late on Thursday evening. This was less than 24 hours after leaving port of Durban, during which the ship took provisions and dropped off six crew members.

Jonathan Kellerman, NSRI Durban station commander, said the man required medical evacuation off the Queen Mary 2 following a non Covid-19 related medical emergency with the patient suffering a medical condition.

He said a Government Health EMS duty doctor had spoken to the ship's medical team and it was deemed necessary for the patient to be evacuated to a hospital as soon as possible. 

"At that stage the ship was approximately 20 nautical miles off-shore of Morgans Bay, on the Transkei coastline, and after investigating options it was rerouted to head towards Durban and an SA Air Force (SAAF) 15 Squadron Oryx helicopter, NSRI Durban rescue swimmers and a Netcare 911 ambulance services rescue paramedical team were activated to prepare for the rescue operation 216 nautical miles South West of Durban."

NSRI bases along the East Coast, at Durban, Shelly Beach, Port Edward and East London were placed on on stand-by during the helicopter patient evacuation operation.

An SAAF 15 Squadron Oryx helicopter, carrying four SAAF crew, two NSRI rescue swimmers and three Netcare 911 rescue paramedics left Durban at 7pm arriving at the ship just after 9.30pm.

Sea conditions were challenging. "With 25 knot North Easterly winds gusting to 34 knots and 2 meter swells, a rescue swimmer and two paramedics were hoisted onto the Queen Mary 2 and they received the patient from the ships medical crew. The patient was secured into a Stokes basket stretcher and hoisted into the helicopter, and was airlifted, in a stable condition and in the care of the paramedics, to a hospital in Durban, arriving at the hospital at 11.38pm for further medical care."

The operation ended shortly after midnight. The man is currently in a stable condition.

NSRI spokesman Craig Lambinon stressed that all port protocols under the state of disaster regulations were followed with Transnet Port Health Authorities. 

The Independent on Saturday

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