AN ELDERLY Sydney woman has been winched from a cruise ship off the coast of Rainbow Beach by a rescue helicopter crew on Monday morning.

An RACQ CareFlight Rescue spokeswoman said it was reported the woman, aged in her eighties, suffered a medical condition after boarding the Dutch ship Volendam with her daughter in Sydney on Saturday.

She said the woman was treated by the ship's doctor but when her condition worsened last night, the Sunshine Coast based RACQ CareFlight Rescue helicopter was tasked to the northwards-bound ship to leave at first light this morning.

Before 6am, the crew spotted the ship 60 nautical miles north east of their Sunshine Coast base and prepared for a winch rescue.

A Queensland Ambulance Service flight intensive care paramedic was winched down onto the front of the moving vessel about 40 nautical miles east of Rainbow Beach.

The CareFlight spokeswoman said the patient was treated, secured in a stretcher and winched aboard the helicopter.

She was flown in a stable condition to Nambour General Hospital where a Brisbane-based relative was said to have met her.

An RACQ Careflight Rescue helicopter crew airlifted a woman from a moving cruise ship off the coast of Rainbow Beach on Monday morning.
An RACQ Careflight Rescue helicopter crew airlifted a woman from a moving cruise ship off the coast of Rainbow Beach on Monday morning. RACQ CareFlight Rescue


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