THE crew of a Nowra-based Seahawk helicopter played a major role in a dramatic mid-ocean rescue more than 600 kilometres from land, in the Indian Ocean.
A French fishing vessel, Cape St Vincent, was operating off the African coast when one of its crew suffered a suspected heart attack.
HMAS Darwin, which was on patrol in the region, sailed overnight to rendezvous with the ship off the coast of Tanzania.
A seahawk helicopter from 816 Squadron at HMAS Albatross transported medical teams to the vessel to provide an emergency aero medical evacuation.
The fisherman was airlifted back to HMAS Darwin for initial medical assistance.
He was later flown to hospital in Dar Es Salam, and was reported to be in a stable condition.
Leading Seaman Stephen McGreal, from the Seahawk aircrew, which helped winch the French fisherman by stretcher up into the helicopter said it was awesome to be involved in the evacuation.
“I feel proud to have been part of the team that helped this fisherman,” he said.
HMAS Darwin is currently deployed to the Middle East and is the 57th rotation of a Royal Australian Navy warship to the area since the first Gulf War in 1990.