RAF helicopter airlifts 85 year old in “life threatening” condition from cruise ship off the Norfolk coast

An RAF Sea King search and rescue helicopter from RAF Wattisham airlifted a patient from a cruise ship.Photograph Simon Parker

An RAF search and rescue team battled fog and wind to airlift an 85-year-old woman in a 'life threatening' condition from a cruise liner off the Norfolk coast.

The Sea King helicopter from RAF Wattisham, in Suffolk, took off at 8.23am today, and reached the cruise ship Balmoral at 9am.

The ship, which is operated by Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, was enveloped by fog, and the rescue operation was complicated by the wind.

The helicopter, call sign Rescue 125, was captained by Ft Lt Laura Harnshaw.

Wing Commander Harry Palmer said: 'They arrived at the ship at 9am after quite a fight with the weather and they had quite a fight to rescue her because of the wind.'

They were due to take the patient to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, but because of bad weather they went to Norwich Airport, where a land ambulance took over.

The ship is believed to have been 70-80 miles from the search and rescue base.

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