After consultation with the VOR medical team onshore, it has been agreed that Amer Sports One’s Keith Kilpatrick – suffering with stomach pains – should be airlifted as soon as possible
Amer Sports One navigator Roger Nilson has reported that the condition of crew member Keith Kilpatrick, who first complained of stomach pains on Monday, has stabilised. He is currently on painkillers, antibiotics and a saline drip has been inserted, not without some difficulty in the wild Southern Ocean conditions.
However concern about his condition is growing and, after discussing his condition with Nilson – also a qualified doctor and orthopaedic surgeon – the VOR medical team recommended that Kilpatrick be airlifted off the boat as soon as an opportunity presented itself.
Amer Sports One is currently 1,200 miles from the southwest corner of Australia, closing at 14 knots, but still out of helicopter range. Attempts to contact shipping in the area have come to nothing as the boat is well south of the shipping lanes. A Royal Australian Air Force Orion was scrambled to drop more medical supplies – antibiotics and morphine – for Amer Sports One to collect and at least two of the packs dropped have been retrieved.
“Roger is doing an outstanding job,” said skipper Grant Dalton, “he is a true professional and Keith is very lucky to be in his care. Volvo has been great, very coordinated and professional. Volvo must be commended on having made Eclipse Island near Albany a waypoint or we would be much further south right now.
“We are continuing to sail as fast as we can, after all the better we do the closer we will get to Australia where he might be able to be taken off. Keith is in good spirits and well aware of his situation.”
Kilpatrick, 40, has spoken to his wife Tara in California to reassure her he is in good hands but the difficulties of becoming ill thousands of miles from surgical facilities are an ever present concern.
“This is a new twist for me and one that I have feared for many years,” added Dalton. “When something like this happens you feel a great sense of isolation. Once again, Keith is on the best boat simply because Roger is with him.”
Race Director Michael Woods said this was one of the myriad of considerations when the legs and waypoints were being planned. “The race course was designed to keep the yachts within the 2,000 nautical mile limit of Australian rescue aircraft.”
More on this story as it develops.