Rescue helicopter paramedics flew to Waikopou Bay just south of Man o’ War Bay on Wednesday last week to help a man in his 70s aboard a 33-foot sailing vessel.

The man was suffering from a medical complaint and his partner issued a mayday call early on Wednesday morning. The search and rescue got under way soon after 7am.

Westpac rescue pilot Simon Owen said a rescue paramedic was winched into the water nearby before boarding the boat. Three people were on board and the man in trouble was the vessel’s skipper.

“He was taken by the boat’s tender to shore where he boarded the waiting helicopter and was flown to Auckland City Hospital in a moderate condition.”

Owen said calm early morning conditions made the rescue less challenging than it might have been later in the week as many parts of the country felt the effects of Cyclone Cody and a tsunami following the eruption of a volcano in Tonga.

“We were lucky that it was a beautiful flat morning. The water was like glass and our rescue paramedic had a good swim to the boat. There were three people on board and I think they were visiting Waiheke from elsewhere in the North Island.”

Following the rescue, some members of the public helped to return the tender to the vessel. Overall, Owen says this summer has been particularly busy with many rescue callouts.

Already this year, Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust pilots and paramedics have attended more than 80 missions throughout the region. • Sophie Boladeras

Full story in this week’s Gulf News… Out Now!!!

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