An 80-year-old South African cruise passenger had to be medically evacuated from a cruise ship near Cape Town this week, after suffering a fall that resulted in serious injuries.
According to a statement from the National Sea Rescue Institute, the female passenger suffered a fall shortly after the ship had departed Cape Town on Monday evening.
The National Sea Rescue Institute was put on alter shortly after midnight by the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC), which received a request for assistance from the cruise ship, which was not named.
“The cruise vessel had departed from the Port of Table Bay earlier. An 80-year-old Cape Town female passenger reportedly suffered a fall while on board, sustaining serious injuries while offshore north of Saldanha Bay,” said NSRI Table Bay duty coxswain Marc de Vos.
“She was attended to and stabilised by the ship’s medical team,” he added. However, in coordination with the cruise line’s local agent it was decided that the cruise ship should turn back for Cape Town.
A few hours later, at about 4am, duty crew and a Western Cape Government Health EMS rescue squad were activated to prepare to launch and evacuate the patient. Metro EMS Control placed EMS rescue paramedics on alert as the ship approached the anchorage offshore of Green Point.
“NSRI Table Bay duty crew, aboard the NSRI rescue craft Rescue 3, accompanied by two EMS rescue paramedics, rendezvoused with the vessel,” said Vos.
“The patient was secured into a Stokes basket stretcher and transferred onto the NSRI rescue craft and in the care of the EMS rescue paramedics she was brought to our NSRI Table Bay rescue station and transported to a hospital in a serious but stable condition by EMS ambulance,” he added.
It’s unclear who the injured woman was travelling with, but according to the statement she was accompanied to hospital by a family member.
NSRI commended the co-operation and care of all involved in the maritime medical emergency.
Although the cruise ship aboard which the incident occurred was not named, only two ships departed Cape Town on Monday. The first was MSC Sinfonia at around 5pm, and the second was AIDAaura at 9pm.
The fact that the ship issued the first emergency call while off Saldanha Bay would suggest it was MSC Sinfonia, as her first port call of Walvis Bay in Namibia would take her directly north of Cape Town, while AIDAaura’s first port call of her cruise was Port Elizabeth.
Cruise Arabia & Africa has reached out to both cruise lines for comment.