Challenging operation to lift ill crewman from ship

Challenging operation to lift ill crewman from ship

From The Gisborne Herald:

‘Heroic effort’ got ill crewman to hospital despite decent swell.

THE crew of Eastland Port’s pilot boat Turanganui braved big seas and strong winds on Saturday night to get help to a crewman on a log ship at anchor in Poverty Bay who developed a medical condition. The alarm was raised with the emergency services at 8.30pm.

“The crewman was on the log ship Chitral that was riding out the storm at anchor near Young Nicks Head,” said police search and rescue co-ordinator Sergeant Greg Lexmond.

The ECT rescue helicopter flew to the ship with consideration given to a landing on the deck.

“But the ship was pitching too much in the swells, visibility was poor and the wind too strong, so we notified Eastland Port and used one of the pilot boats. They got alongside and the ill man was put in a harness and managed to climb down a ladder from the ship to the pilot boat.”

The pilot boat was met by a St John ambulance back at the wharf at 11.30pm and the crewman was taken to hospital. He was treated and assessed in the emergency department overnight and discharged.

“The crew of the pilot boat did very well in trying conditions,” Sgt Lexmond said. “I would go so far to say it was a pretty heroic effort.”

The pilot boat was skippered by Ross Elliott and crewed by Paul Larsen, Tony Abbott and Chris Griffin. Port marine manager Paul Hines said there was a decent swell running in the bay, with a 3 to 4.5 metre wave height.

“They went out with their eyes open and did an excellent job,” Mr Hines said. “It was risk-managed all the way.”

They did not put themselves or the vessel in danger at any time.

“We are proud of what the guys did in challenging conditions,” said Eastland Port general manager Andrew Gaddum. “It was great we were able to render assistance to a person in need.”