Sea lion wound prompts medevac from Auckland Islands

13 January 2017

A rescue helicopter is flying 400 km to the Auckland Islands on an urgent mission to medevac a woman injured by a sea lion pup.

The woman had been assisting research work on Enderby Island swabbing sea lion pups’ mouths when she cut her finger about nine days ago. The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) has been monitoring the situation and was notified the infection had gotten worse.

“Sea lion bites are known to result in infected wounds. A doctor on a nearby cruise liner assessed the wound and recommended she be evacuated to hospital as a precaution as her condition is not responding to treatment,” says RCCNZ watch leader John Dickson.

The Southern Lakes BK117 helicopter left at 9.40 a.m. when the weather cleared enough for the long range mission.

“The 800 kilometre round-trip is a delicate operation due to the remoteness of the island. There are fuel reserves on Enderby Island so the helicopter will refuel before it makes the return journey,” says John.

“We expect the helicopter will arrive at the island and to pick up the patient around lunchtime. All going well, they should be back in Invercargill around late afternoon.”

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