24 May 2005

Injured fishermen rescued by helicopter

An Atlantis fisherman with a serious head injury has been airlifted off a fishing trawler in choppy seas off the coast of Hermanus.

Christo Joubert was on his way back to Cape Town with the 56-foot trawler Beatrice Marine when he was apparently hit on his left temple by heavy fishing equipment.

The Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) called the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) and Canadian Helicopter Corporation (CHC) rescue workers to evacuate Joubert.

Rescue workers Phil Ress and Lizette Swanevelder and a crew of about 20 managed to get him into the helicopter.

He was rushed to Milnerton MediClinic where he is in a serious but stable condition.

"We anticipate a good outcome, depending on the results of a brain scan, which he will have soon," said Basil Bonner of the MediClinic.

Sea conditions off the coast had been rough, resulting in the rolling and pitching of the trawler.

"The movement of the ship made it quite a difficult rescue to execute," said Ress. "Pilot John Pocock was practically flying the chopper backwards at one point - he was great."

Despite the conditions, the CHC chopper was equipped with special high-line technology that allowed for more controlled movement on and off the helicopter.

The high-line is an extra line thrown down to the ship and connected to the winch that prevents those ascending and descending from swinging.

Source: www.capetimes.co.za


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