A seriously ill crew member has been airlifted from a Spanish fishing vessel off the south west coast of Ireland.
The emergency medevac (medical evacuation) was requested by Spanish and UK maritime authorities after a crew member was reported to have suffered a possible stroke.
Watch officers at the Irish Coast Guard’s marine rescue sub centre on Valentia Island in Kerry mounted and coordinated the medevac operation.
The Shannon based Irish Coast Guard helicopter, Rescue 115, was tasked at around 1.00pm and requested to proceed to the location about 80 nautical miles (150kms) southwest of Castletownbere in Cork.
In the meantime, the trawler was requested to proceed north east towards the Irish coast to reduce the distance the helicopter would have to travel to rendezvous with it.
An Irish Air Corps CASA CN-235 maritime patrol aircraft was also tasked to provide top cover for the mission. Rescue 01, which had been on patrol off the west coast at the time, was requested to assist Rescue 115 with top cover radio communications as the helicopter would be too far from land to maintain direct contact with the Irish Coast Guard marine rescue coordination centre.
Rescue 115 reached the vessel at around 3.20pm and a winchman/paramedic was lowered onto the deck to prepare the patient for airlifting.
The ill crew member was winched on board the helicopter in a matter of minutes and was flown to Shannon Airport from where he was transferred into the care of the National Ambulance Service and transported to University Hospital Limerick for treatment.
Weather conditions in Cork, Tralee and Limerick were said to be extremely poor so the decision was made to land the patient at Shannon.
An Irish Coast Guard spokesperson said: “The Shannon based Coast Guard helicopter successfully evacuated a casualty from a Spanish fishing vessel off the south west coast earlier this afternoon. The mission was carried out on foot of a joint request from UK and Spanish authorities. The casualty was landed at Shannon airport for transfer into the care of the HSE.”