News

Helicopter airlifts Bundy grandma from cruise ship

WAKING in excruciating pain at 3am while cruising off the east coast of Australia was the last thing on a Bundaberg grandmother's mind.

In 2014 Deanna and Kevin Barnett (pictured) set off to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in style on the cruise ship the Sea Princess.

With only a day to go Mrs Barnett became terribly ill with what doctors suspected could have been cancer.

An emergency medical helicopter was called to make a sea rescue.

Mrs Barnett said the illness slowly crept up on her until she became so unwell she couldn't move.

"I can't describe it. The pain was so bad I couldn't move," Mrs Barnett said.

"Once the captain realised there would be a medical emergency he turned the ship towards the shore."

Luckily the 69-year-old said she wasn't afraid of flying, and she realised she was in the best hands as they winched her up to the helicopter.

"I have been on four helicopters now and wasn't scared," Mrs Barnett said.

"There was nothing I could do so I wasn't worried at all."

Mr Barnett said the helicopter sent down a tiny parcel that transformed into a stretcher to take his wife away.

After arriving on land, Mrs Barnett was transferred to a Gold Coast hospital where she stayed for the next two weeks.

She was diagnosed with a perforated bowel and told she was lucky to receive the medical treatment when she did.

The couple said even after the experience nothing would stop them from being adventurous, and they had just returned from another cruise.

"The staff on the boat really looked after me until I was airlifted off."

"It's like falling off a horse or bike - you have to just get straight back on."

The couple said they wanted to thank everyone involved in the rescue and advised everyone to make sure they had medical and travel insurance.

"An emergency can happen at any time and without insurance it would have cost us about $45,000," Mrs Barnett said.

"The doctors said to us not to bother buying a lotto ticket in the future because we have now used up all our luck," Mr Barnett said.

Mrs Barnett's story will feature in the season finale of Air Rescue on January 14 at 7pm on Channel 7.

Air Rescue is an observational documentary capturing the dramatic rescues performed by the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service which this year celebrates over 42 years of partnership with Westpac.

Topics:  editors picks




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Tagged tiger shark Maroochy baited and killed on drum line

RESEARCH: A 3m tiger shark called Maroochy was tagged by Ocearch on February 2, 2015. Photo Ocearch

The young shark was tagged in February 2015 by Ocearch.

Avocado truck rollover on Bruce Highway

TRUCK ROLLOVER: Bruce Hwy Howard.

Driver lucky to be alive after truck crash

Fisherman says he found Spirit of 1770 first

Bundaberg fisherman Glen Watson was the first person to discover the Spirit of 1770 when he hooked up on while trawling on Friday May 20. Mr Watson shows off what was brought up on his nets after the near disaster. Photo: Craig Warhurst/News mail

Boatie tells how his vessel almost sunk in same spot

Latest deals and offers

Own Sunshine Coast property? You’re about to make money

UP AND UP: Property owners are likely to win from rent and price increases but tenants and first home buyers might not be so happy. Photo: Brett Wortman / Sunshine Coast Daily

Good new for property owners, not so good for buyers and tenants.

Sale nears on last large block of land in Coolum

The 43.37ha property on South Coolum Rd has sold.

South Coolum Rd property to be land banked