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Photos: Two NZ rescue helicopters travel hundreds of kilometres out to sea, winch sick crewman

A Myanmar crewman has been airlifted to hospital after suffering from a medical condition, two days after the container ship he was on left Tauranga for Peru.

The container ship, Port of Sydney, was 400 nautical miles out to sea when it turned back yesterday towards Te Araroa, on the tip of East Cape, so the man could be airlifted to Hawke's Bay Hospital, a Hawke's Bay Rescue Helicopter Trust spokesman said in a statement.

The container ship Spirit of Sydney turned back towards New Zealand in order for the crewman to be airlifted to Hawke's Bay Hospital. Source: Hawke's Bay Rescue Helicopter Trust

Arrangements were made with the Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter to winch the man, who is in his 40s, off the ship at 9am this morning.

Two helicopters, one from Hastings and one from Tauranga, were called to the location due to the ship's significant distance from the shore.

Gisborne helicopters were also called in to assist with the operation by delivering fuel to Te Araroa.

Container ship Spirit of Sydney departed from Port of Tauranga destined for Peru when a crewman suffered a medical condition while on board the ship. Source: Hawke's Bay Rescue Helicopter Trust