WHAT was meant to be a relaxing tropical holiday has ended with a dramatic emergency airlift from a cruise ship 230km offshore early this morning.
A 66-year-old Brisbane woman with an excruciating renal condition was winched into the RACQ CQ Rescue helicopter from the cruise liner Sea Princess and airlifted to Mackay Base Hospital arriving about 8am.
According to Queensland Ambulance Service, the woman was holidaying aboard the vessel, which departed Brisbane two days ago on a 10-day cruise to Papua New Guinea, with her husband and children before she became ill.
RACQ CQ Rescue was tasked about 4am and upon departure had to refuel at Hamilton Island before heading the 86 nautical miles north-east of Hamilton Island to retrieve the patient from the vessel.
The helicopter service's Rescue Crewman and a paramedic were winched down about 5.45am onto the deck of the 261-metre cruise ship to stabilise the patient and prepare her for transfer as the helicopter hovered overhead.
The paramedic and patient were then winched into the aircraft, followed by the Rescue Crewman, in a 20-minute operation.
On the return flight, the CQ Rescue helicopter had to refuel again at Hamilton Island before arriving at the Mackay Base Hospital with the patient aboard about 8am.
PARAMEDICS and rescuers winched a passenger off a luxury cruise ship, Sea Princess, this morning.
RACQ CQ Rescue evacuated the passenger from the cruise liner about 5.45am this morning 230km off the coast of Mackay.
A CQ Rescue spokeswoman said the helicopter needed to refuel at Hamilton Island before heading to the ship because of its distance from shore.
The passenger was airlifted in a stable condition and transported to Mackay Base Hospital.
The cruise ship had left Brisbane on Tuesday and was travelling north along the coast.
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