Petroleum Helicopters International has completed another successful rescue mission after a cruise ship called for an emergency evacuation of one of its passenger in urgent need of medical attention. On Friday, July 15 the Australian Maritime Safety Authority requested help from a search and rescue helicopter to respond to a medical emergency on Ponant’s cruise ship Le Soleal which was anchored in Talbot Bay, about 260km north-east of Broome, near Horizontal Falls. PHI’s commercial manager Gordon Watt said the evacuation was a success, taking four hours to complete. “The aircraft was actually airborne already on another routine tasking and was alerted to a request from AMSA to support the winch recovery of a passenger who required urgent hospital treatment from a cruise ship in port Talbot Bay,” he said. Mr Watt said the mission was complex and required an advanced search and rescue helicopter to complete. “The complexity was getting to the vessel itself in a really remote, quite an austere environment, given the terrain in and around port Talbot Bay at night — there’s some reasonably high terrain like cliffs and it’s dark,” he said. “There’s only a few helicopters in Australia that can do that kind of mission, one of which is here in Broome.” Mr Watt said once the rescue team had made contact with the cruise ship they then prepared to winch the passenger on to the helicopter for evacuation. “They hover alongside the boat whilst the winch operator who’s in the cabin refines that position by telling the pilots where to move until they’re directly over the vessel and then the winch is deployed.” “Then we assess the patient and make sure they warrant a helicopter recovery and that they can be packaged suitably for that.” About 6.42pm after the rescue helicopter met the cruise ship, the rescue team proceeded to winch the injured passenger into the aircraft. “We’ve got a number of different methods that we can use, in this instance, we use what’s called an Air Rescue vest, which is essentially a jacket that we place on the individual which connects to the hook and lifts them up to the craft.” After landing safely in Broome the passenger was then transferred to Broome Hospital via ambulance. “The patient was stable on the recovery flight to Broome,” said Mr Watt. PHI routinely provides 24/7 evacuation services from its Broome Airport base using its Sikorsky S92 search and rescue helicopter.