A cruise ship was delayed in Rangitoto channel near Auckland yesterday after an 80-year-old passenger had a heart attack.

The woman, an Australian tourist, was on the Holland America Line ship MS Oosterdam making its way to Fiji when she suffered the heart attack shortly after it left port.

Emergency services were notified about 6.30pm and Auckland's Westpac Rescue Helicopter arrived soon afterwards.

Helicopter manager Greg Brownson said a paramedic was lowered onto the deck and the woman was winched onto the helicopter.


She was taken to Auckland Hospital in a serious condition.

The Westpac Rescue Helicopter has already had 83 missions this January, which is likely to surpass last January's record high of 96 missions.

Many of the jobs had been in the Coromandel-Hauraki area, Mr Brownson said.