Sick crewman rescued from cargo ship off Hawke's Bay coast

A Wellington Free Ambulance paramedic had to be lowered on to the ship, where the patient was lying on a stretcher. He ...
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A Wellington Free Ambulance paramedic had to be lowered on to the ship, where the patient was lying on a stretcher. He was assessed before being winched 20 metres into the helicopter.

Wellington's Westpac rescue helicopter had to contend with rolling seas from the aftermath of Cyclone Cook as its crew plucked a sailor from a cargo ship off the Hawke's Bay coast.

The man, in his early 40s, was suffering from a suspected cardiac arrest on the ship, about 16 kilometres due east of Waipukurau, on Friday.

Rescue helicopter crewman Mike Beausoleil said on Saturday night that visibility was good and winds low, but swells of about five metres complicated the rescue.

"The ship was really rolling a lot ... it was a very challenging rescue, and a good challenging winch."

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The ship had to reduce its speed from 12 knots to eight, about the lowest speed a ship can hold while still controlling its steering, Beausoleil said. 

The ship was also turned about 30 degrees from its course to mitigate the swell's effects. 

A Wellington Free Ambulance paramedic was lowered on to the ship, where the patient was lying on a stretcher. He was assessed before being winched 20 metres into the helicopter. 

The 220-metre-long ship was on its way to Lyttleton when the incident occurred. 

The patient was flown to Wellington Hospital, where he was in a stable condition on the cardiology ward on Sunday.

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