An injured 20-year-old Indian sailor is in a stable condition in hospital in Port Elizabeth after being evacuated from a passing ship on Friday afternoon, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said.
NSRI Air Sea Rescue (ASR) were alerted by the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) just before 2pm of a pending sea rescue operation to evacuate an injured Indian sailor from the bulk carrier Genco Commodus, NSRI spokesman Craig Lambinon said on Saturday.
The sailor apparently suffered a compound fractured left ankle when a piece of metal fell on him aboard the Genco Commudus, sailing from Chile to Bahrain and due to be off-shore of Port Elizabeth later in the day.
NSRI ASR duty crew prepared for the operation and an SA Air Force (SAAF) 15 Squadron helicopter was made ready and an Eastern Cape emergency medical service (EMS) rescue paramedic was activated. NSRI Port Elizabeth duty crew were also placed on alert, he said.
The rescue operation started at 3.11pm and the SAAF helicopter, accompanied by two NSRI ASR rescue swimmers and an EMS rescue paramedic, rendezvoused with the ship 19 nautical miles off-shore of Cape Recife in four to five metre swells and a 30 knot south-easterly wind.
An NSRI ASR rescue swimmer was winched from the helicopter onto the ship and the patient was found to be in a stable condition with the compound fracture and laceration of his left ankle in dressings and splints.
The patient was winched into the helicopter with the rescue swimmer and medical treatment was continued by the EMS rescue paramedic inside the helicopter en route to hospital in Port Elizabeth.
On landing the patient was transferred to an EMS ambulance and transported to hospital in a stable condition for further treatment, Lambinon said.