On Oct 18, 2017, at 5.30 p.m. the NSRI was alerted by MRCC of a crew member of the “Grand Amanda” which had suffered injuries and fractures to both legs and both thighs onboard the bulk carrier approximately 189 miles off the South African East Coast and which was rerouted towards East London.
A Government Health EMS duty doctor provided medical advice to the crew to aid in treating the patient and unfavourable sea conditions. The distance ruled out a medevac by helicopter, and the ship was diverted to the nearest Port. While efforts were underway to arrange a medevac at first light the following morning, the TNPA (Transnet National Ports Authority) pilot boat transported paramedics to the vessel once it was closer to East London, but extremely rough seas and gusting to 50 knot Easterly winds prevented paramedics from boarding the ship.
The NSRI Durban, NSRI Port Elizabeth, NSRI ASR, the TNPA Port Helicopter and both the SA Air Force (SAAF) 15 Squadron and 15 Squadron Charlie Flight remained on alert throughout the night in the event weather and sea conditions subsided to allow for a helicopter rescue effort.
Medical kit was able to be transferred aboard the vessel during the night, and the NSRI East London made ready again on Oct 19 at 5 a.m., despite a wind direction change to Westerly winds gusting to 40 knots, to attempt to board the ship at sea but prior to launching it was confirmed that sadly the patient succumbed to his injuries and passed away during the early hours of the morning.