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Sea lion bite prompts 800km NZ medevac

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 12/01/2017 Ben Leahy

A New Zealand rescue helicopter is flying an 800km round-trip medevac mission after a woman was bitten by a sea lion pup.

The woman's finger became infected after she cut it nine days ago while assisting researchers to swab sea lion pup mouths on remote Enderby Island, part of the Auckland Islands archipelago south of New Zealand.

"Sea lion bites are known to result in infected wounds," Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand's John Dickson says.

"A doctor on a nearby cruise liner assessed the wound and recommended she be evacuated to hospital as a precaution as her condition is not responding to treatment."

The rescue helicopter left Invercargill in the South Island at 9.40am on Thursday when the weather cleared and is expected to return around late afternoon.

"The 800 kilometre round-trip is a delicate operation due to the remoteness of the island," Mr Dickson said.

He said the chopper would refuel on Enderby Island before making the return journey.

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