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Navy frigate conducts helicopter medical evacuation from cruise ship

A Seahawk helicopter from the Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Toowoomba has conducted an evacuation of an ill 79-year-old passenger from the cruise liner MV Sea Princess off the West Australian coast.

On Saturday morning, the MV Sea Princess contacted Toowoomba, which was conducting training in the Western Australia Exercise Area off Fremantle.

HMAS Toowoomba’s Commanding Officer, Commander Brendon Zilko, said the cruise liner requested assistance to transfer an ill passenger with severe abdominal pain to a hospital ashore.

“We launched the ship’s Seahawk helicopter at first light,” Commander Zilko said.

“The operation had a certain degree of difficulty as the Sea Princess doesn’t have a landing pad, so we had to winch the patient off the deck and into the helicopter.”

Once on board the Seahawk, HMAS Toowoomba’s doctor took over the passenger’s care as the helicopter made the 71 nautical mile transit to the Emergency Department of the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth.

Commander Zilko said he was very proud of his crew.

“We are out here training for our next mission to the Middle East later this year. I was very pleased with the way the crew handled a real life emergency,” he said.