African Press Association

Ill Indonesian sailor airlifted to safety off Cape Town

Cargo ship

CAPE TOWN – AN ill Indonesian crew member of a bulk carrier has been airlifted to safety amid strong winds off Cape Town in South Africa.

The vessel was en-route from India to South America without a planned stop-over in Cape Town when the crew member took ill.

“The crew member was suffering from extremely high and dangerous blood pressure,” said Jared Blows, chief of the South African Maritime Safety Authority’s Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC).

He said the vessel was put in contact with the Metro Doctor and it was recommended that the crew member be evacuated from the vessel as soon as possible.

The South African Air Force 22 Squadron was activated along with the National Sea Rescue Institute Air Sea Rescue Unit to fly out and evacuate the crew member.

Blows said the Oryx helicopter experienced strong south easterly winds, gusting up to 70 kilometres per hour.

“The pilots are trained to operate in extreme conditions, but the team put in an extra effort,” Blows said.

The Oryx helicopter rendezvoused with the vessel off Cape Town Port Limits and airlifted the crew member on board from where he was flown to Groote Schuur Hospital.

An ambulance has been arranged to then transport the crew member to Christiaan Barnard Hospital for further treatment.

The crew member would be treated and the arrangement would be made with the shipping agent to return him home safely.

– CAJ News