NEWS

RESCUE: French National Airlifted From Ono-i-Lau After Medical Emergency

A French national required emergency rescuing yesterday morning when a physical illness during a routine sea voyage left him stranded on Ono-i-Lau Island. Eric Eychenne, 49, arrived in Suva just
28 Nov 2017 10:19
RESCUE: French National Airlifted From  Ono-i-Lau After Medical Emergency
French national Eric Eychenne on a wheel-chair disembarks from the rescue helicopter in Suva on November 27, 2017. Photo: Sheldon Chanel

A French national required emergency rescuing yesterday morning when a physical illness during a routine sea voyage left him stranded on Ono-i-Lau Island.

Eric Eychenne, 49, arrived in Suva just after midday yesterday appearing to be in good spirits, but needing the aid of a wheelchair to move.

The Republic of Fiji Navy launched a rescue mission for Mr Eychenne after receiving word from French authorities in Paris on Saturday (25/11), according to a Fiji Navy statement.

Adverse weather conditions and the island’s remote location complicated rescue efforts and initially caused a delay, the statement said.

The Navy’s rescue unit, the Fiji Maritime Surveillance and Rescue Co-ordination Centre (FMSRCC), worked with air ambulance service HELiPRO Fiji to bring the patient to Suva for treatment.

Accompanying the rescuers was a doctor from the Ministry of Health, the statement confirmed.

It said the man was paraplegic –paralysis in the lower body – and complained of severe abdominal pain.

“Physically I feel very weak and very, very tired,” the Toulouse native said.

“I haven’t eaten in four days and haven’t slept in the previous two.”

He said he was travelling to Panama with his friend, the Captain of the vessel, from New Caledonia, where he is now settled.

The statement further added that villagers from Motukana Village on the island assisted in the transfer of the patient.

“We received the call late yesterday afternoon (26/11) and it was too late to go out last night so we left at daylight this morning (27/11),” said HELiPRO chief executive officer Graeme Hedge.

“We will transfer the patient to the Colonial War Memorial Hospital (CWMH) in our ambulance and stay with him until the transfer is completed.”

The company specialises in rescue missions, co-operating with not just the Navy but also the Ministry of Health, Mr Hedge said.

Ono-i-Lau, an island with an area of about 7.9 square kilometres, lies on a busy stretch of water frequently used by yachts.

Edited by Mohammed Zulfikar

Feedback:  sheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj

Fijisun E-edition
Tanoa Plaza Hotel Suva
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
error: