Long-distance medical evacuation from cruise ship

An 86-year-old British woman with a serious medical condition has been evacuated from the cruise ship Astor, 270km (145 nautical miles) north east of Great Barrier Island.

The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) arranged the medevac by the Northland Emergency Services Trust rescue helicopter from Whangarei at around 11am this morning, after the woman fell ill two days ago on a voyage from the Pacific Islands to Auckland, search and rescue mission coordinator Ramon Davis said.

“We had to wait until the cruise ship was in range before making the flight,” he said. “The rescue helicopter first flew to Great Barrier Island where it re-fuelled and then made a flight of around an hour out the cruise ship. It was near the outer limits of its range and the woman was winched aboard before the return flight to Great Barrier, for more fuel, and the transfer to Auckland Hospital. It was excellent work by the rescue helicopter crew, and the woman is now in the best place for treatment.”

The condition of the woman is not known.