Injured Maltese fishermen airlifted to hospital by rescue helicopter
Two Maltese fishermen are being airlifted later tonight by a Malta-based
Italian Air Force rescue-helicopter, crewed by a joint Italo-Maltese
flight crew, after sustaining injuries when they were working onboard a
Maltese-operated vessel towing a tuna-pen.
Mr. Reuben Silvio, a diver working onboard the vessel "Rosaria Tuna" and
which is operated by firm 'Fish and Fish', was injured when
environmentalists from the vessel "Sea Shepherd" attempted to hook up
and damage the tuna-pen under tow.
The incident occurred at around 14.30hrs (CET) when the vessels were
located some 35 nautical miles (NM) from Libyan shores, and around 150
NM from Malta. This was reported to the Armed Forces of Malta's Rescue
Co-ordination Centre (RCC Malta) at Luqa Barracks, which in turn also
notified their Libyan RCC counterparts in Tripoli.
Given the Maltese diver's condition as time elapsed, the tuna-pen towing
operation's lead vessel, the 'Cesare Rustico' was instructed by the AFM
to proceed on a course towards Malta so as to facilitate a
medical-evacuation by helicopter to Mater Dei Hospital. By 22.30hrs, the
'Cesare Rustico' had arrived at about 90 NM from Malta.
Once communication was established with the 'Cesare Rustico' by RCC
Malta, it came to light that another diver, Mr. Joe Barry, had been
injured. Both divers were reported as in a stable condition.
An Italian Military Mission AB-212 rescue-helicopter took off from the
AFM Air Wing base at Luqa Airport at 21.50 hrs. circa, and its estimated
time of arrival back to Mater Dei Hospital is expected after 23.30hrs.