An Oryx from the South African Air Force’s (SAAF’s) 15 Squadron was called out to the New Constant, an oil tanker 50 nautical miles off the coast of Durban on Sunday to evacuate an ill crew member.
On the morning of 11 July, two National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) Durban rescue swimmers, two Netcare 911 rescue paramedics and SAAF flight crew departed Durban Air Force Base aboard the Oryx to rendezvous with the oil tanker to evacuate a 27 year old Filipino crewman suffering a medical complaint.
The crews had been placed on alert by the MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) on Saturday after a WC Government Health EMS duty doctor evaluated the patient’s condition in communications with the ship’s medical crew and it was deemed necessary for the patient to be evacuated to hospital as soon as possible, the NSRI said.
On arrival at the ship, in calm sea conditions, an NSRI rescue swimmer and the two Netcare 911 rescue paramedics were hoisted onto the helicopter deck.
The patient, in a stable condition, was secured into a vacuum mattress and specialised stretcher and hoisted into the helicopter with one of the rescue paramedics. The NSRI rescue swimmer and the remaining rescue paramedic were hoisted into the helicopter.
The patient, in the care of the Netcare 911 rescue paramedics, was airlifted directly to a Durban hospital landing zone and then transported to a Durban hospital by Netcare 911 ambulance where he is receiving emergency medical care in hospital and he is expected to make a full recovery.
The SA Air Force Board commended Air Force Base Durban, especially the involved aircrew from 15 Squadron, that responded to the rescue call.