A seriously ill 68-year-old South Australian tourist was winched off the 330-metre long cruise ship Majestic Princess about 84km south-east of Mackay this morning and transported to Townsville hospital.
A seriously ill 68-year-old South Australian tourist was winched off the 330-metre long cruise ship Majestic Princess about 84km south-east of Mackay this morning and transported to Townsville hospital. RACQ CQ Rescue

Seriously ill man airlifted from cruise ship

A SERIOUSLY ill passenger has been winched from a cruise ship 83km off the coast of Mackay today.

RACQ CQ Rescue were tasked to airlift a man off the 330-metre long royal-class cruise ship, Majestic Princess, about 6.30am.

A 68-year-old South Australian tourist was 20 days in a 22-day Asia and Australia cruise with more than 3000 other passengers and 1300 crew when he fell seriously ill.

The Mackay-based rescue helicopter, with a doctor and Critical Care Paramedic on board, orbited the enormous vessel several times before a Critical Care Paramedic was winched down to the ship's deck, followed by a rescue crewman with a stretcher and vacuum mat followed.

The patient, who had been initially attended to by medical crew on board the ship, was then stabilised by the paramedic and prepared to be winched into the rescue helicopter. The rescue crew were on deck for less than 25 minutes.

As the helicopter hovered overhead and watched by the ship's curious and concerned passengers, the ill tourist was winched in a stretcher up into the blue and yellow rescue helicopter accompanied by the paramedic. The rescue crewman was then winched off the deck and up into the helicopter before the rescuers departed the scene.

After the helicopter refuelled at Hamilton Island, the ill man was transported 400km north to Townsville Base Hospital, arriving in a stable but serious condition about 10.50am.

It is believed the man began his cruising holiday in Shanghai, in China, and had visited Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, Darwin and was en route to Sydney.

RACQ CQ Rescue returned to base at 2pm and was immediately tasked to Clermont for a hospital transfer.


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