A Ukrainian ship captain has died far from home after suffering a heart attack on approach to Port Kembla.
The 56-year-old father was found unconscious in his cabin aboard the Iron Chieftain Wednesday evening as the ship came within three nautical miles of the harbour.
The discovery sparked an urgent effort from emergency services. About 6pm, an ambulance rescue chopper landed on the ship, depositing a paramedic and doctor.
Crew members had already begun CPR.
Attempts to revive the man lasted an hour before he was pronounced deceased, said NSW Ambulance Illawarra district officer Inspector Terry Morrow.
“Everyone from our side was trying to get there rapidly and safety to assist in the rescue of this poor man,” he said.
“We did everything that was humanly possible to get there in the shortest time to assist him, however it was unsuccessful.”
The Mercury understand the man was well-respected by his Australian crew.
The ship had traveled from Wyalla and was due to return Friday morning.
Officers attached to Wollongong Local Area Command boarded the vessel once it docked.
Police say there are no suspicious circumstances to the death.
A report is being prepared for the coroner.