Chathams Rescue - Update # 2
Both the Westpac Rescue Helicopter and Vincent Aviation spotter plane departed the Chatham Islands to rendezvous with the Encounter at around 1045 am.
The helicopter should be overhead the ship as this is written (1125 am). Conditions at the scene have been described as excellent for the rescue.
Westpac Rescue Helicopter pilot Tim Douglas-Clifford expects to be overhead the ship for up to 30 minutes - time enough for the Wellington Free Ambulance paramedic to assess both patients and then for them to be winched back into the helicopter.
Each patient will be winched with the paramedic - so the paramedic will come up with the first patient, lowered back to the ship and then the paramedic and 2nd patient will be winched into the helicopter.
We are expecting the helicopter to be back at the Chatham Islands around 12:30 or 1:00 - will confirm this as soon as possible.
Meanwhile the Life Flight NZ air ambulance from Wellington is about to arrive at the Chathams - their ETA there is 1145 am.
In addition to the two patients on the ship, the air ambulance will also be carrying a third person who is ill on the Chathams. In a totally unrelated incident a person on the Chathams has taken ill with a medical condition and requires surgery - this patient will also be taken to Christchurch. We have no information on age, sex, etc of this 3rd patient.
The Wellington Hospital flight team and the Wellington Free Ambulance paramedic will escort the three patients to Christchurch Hospital. Best guess is arriving in Christchurch around 4pm but again we will confirm times when they are known.
Will send further update when the Westpac Rescue Helicopter arrives safely back on the Chathams.