RACQ CQ Rescue has winched a very ill sailor off a bulk carrier about 20km offshore and transported him to Townsville hospital this morning.

The Mackay-based rescue helicopter was tasked just after 5am that a 25-year-old Filipino crewman aboard the Maria A. Angelicoussi, which was moored near Abbott Point, 214km north of Mackay, required urgent medical attention.

After further discussion en route with the ship’s captain, the rescue helicopter arrived on scene about 7am with the crew deciding to winch the patient up into the helicopter as the landing weight limitations aboard the vessel weren’t clear, an RACQ CQ Rescue crewman said.

A rescue crewman was lowered to the deck of the 289-metre long bulk carrier to retrieve the ill man using an ARV. A decision was made not to lower the Critical Care Paramedic (CCP) aboard the helicopter as the patient was walking on the ship’s deck and appeared fine to be winched.

Within 20 minutes of the rescue crewman landing on the deck and a few overhead circuits of the vessel by the aircraft, the patient was aboard the helicopter and en route to Townsville Hospital for further treatment.

In just seven days RACQ CQ Rescue has completed 14 tasks amounting to about 30 flying hours. Three of these tasks involved the Mackay-based rescue helicopter flying north to Townsville.