Injured Sailor Casualty Evacuated by Helicopter Port
Elizabeth, 22nd and 23rd October, 2009. Ian Gray, NSRI Port Elizabeth
station commander said: “At 17h15 (Thursday 22nd October) NSRI Port
Elizabeth’s volunteer duty crew were placed on alert by the Transnet
National Ports Authority following a request for urgent medical
assistance from the 225 metre bulk carrier Pioneer Pacific sailing past
the coast of South Africa, en route to Brazil, reporting a 26 year old
Chinese seaman on-board suffering from a suspected fractured ankle and
requiring a medical evacuation from the vessel to hospital.

It is believed that the injury was sustained after steel sheets had
fallen on the sailors ankle.

“At that stage the vessel was 12 hours sailing, at best speed, from the
Port of Port Elizabeth, and the Transnet National Ports Authority
arranged for the Maritime Radio Services to establish a VHF radio
telephone link between the ship and the Metro Ambulance and Rescue
Services duty doctor, dr. Wayne Smith, and medical advice was given by
VHF radio link to the on-board ships medic to assist in stabilising the
patient until the most suitable means of casualty evacuation could be

Medical monitoring of the patients progress was continued throughout
the night by dr. Smith, while the ship motored towards Port Elizabeth,
and it was arranged at first light today (23rd October), based on the
deterioratng condition of the patient and on the risk of further
possible irreparable damage to the limb, for a South African Air Force
(SAAF) 15 Squadron, Charlie Flight, BK-117 helicopter, to depart Port
Elizabeth at 11h30, accompanied by 2 Guardmed paramedics and 2 NSRI
rescue swimmers, to fly out to rendezvous with the ship 20 nautical
miles East of Port Elizabeth and casualty evacuate the patient by

On arrival on-scene, in relatively calm sea conditions, the NSRI
swimmers and a paramedic were winch hoisted onto the ship and treatment
was administered to the patient who was then secured into a specialized
stokes basket stretcher and winch hoisted into the helicopter.

On-board the helicopter, and while en-route to hospital in Port
Elizabeth, the paramedics provided further treatment to the patient who
was transported, aboard the helicopter, in a stable condition to
hospital where he is receiving further treatment.”

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