RACQ CQ Rescue has landed on the helideck of a 293-metre cruise ship offshore from Bowen this afternoon to airlift an unwell passenger to the hospital.
The Canadian tourist, a passenger aboard the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Radiance of the Seas, was airlifted to Townsville General Hospital with a serious unknown illness.
The massive vessel, with more than 2000 passengers aboard, was located 30 nautical miles (55kms) north-east of Bowen. The cruise ship had departed Sydney on Monday and was travelling north around the top end of Australia and scheduled to arrive in Freemantle in Western Australia on November 16.
RACQ CQ Rescue departed base at 2.20pm today and rendezvoused with the ship about an hour later. The Mackay-based rescue helicopter, which had a critical care paramedic, doctor and rescue crewman aboard, landed on the ship’s helideck at the front of the vessel to treat and transfer the patient.
The helicopter departed less than 25 minutes later with the patient on board in a stable condition, arriving at the Townsville General Hospital about 4.20pm.
An RACQ CQ Rescue spokesperson said the helicopter crew encountered bad weather on the return flight, arriving at Mackay Airport at 7.10pm after flying more than 260 nautical miles (480km) for the six-hour task.