The 53-year-old British tourist lost skin and muscle from her leg after it became entangled in a rope on a yacht off the Queensland coast in Australia

A 53-year-old British tourist is recovering in hospital in Australia after the muscles on her lower leg were “degloved” in a yachting accident.

The woman from Birmingham was holidaying onboard the 23-metre maxi yacht, British Defender, when the incident happened just off Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays, Queensland.

She got her leg caught in a rope and was dragged across the deck of the yacht and the guard rail.

Skin and muscles were stripped from her lower leg.

RACQ CQ Rescue, which provides rapid response critical care and aeromedical retrieval services, sent a helicopter to pick up the woman and take her to hospital.

A group of people on a RIB heading out to a yacht in darkness

Paramedics heading out to the maxi yacht. Credit: RACQ CQ Rescue

Talking to ABC, Air crewman Lee Jones-Fraser said it was originally thought the woman had lost her leg.

“She got her leg caught in a rope and somehow that rope either moved or she got dragged across the guard rail where the higher-tension stainless steel wires are,” he explained.

“What happened were the muscles on her leg were degloved … she had some pretty traumatic injuries in terms of muscle and tissue loss,” he added.

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A small RIB had to be used by the helicopter’s doctor and paramedics to reach the yacht on Saturday (3 June) afternoon.

The woman was made stable, before being flown to Mackay Base Hospital, where she is reported to be in a stable condition.

A yellow helicopter flying along the coastline of Queensland at night

The RACQ CQ Rescue helicopter. Credit: RACQ CQ Rescue

Speaking to the Brisbane Times, a spokesman for British Defender  praised the yacht’s crew, and sailors from nearby vessels, for their quick response.

“At the moment we are trying to deal with our crew and other passengers,” he told the newspaper.

“It is a very emotional time…right now we have six passengers that I am trying to counsel.”

The company is working alongside the police as an investigation begins into the cause of the accident.

British Defender offers two-day and two-night sailing holidays for up to 28 people.

It usually sails around the Whitsundays.

On the Sailing Whitsundays P/L website, which features British Defender, visitors are told that “passengers are welcome to get involved and help the crew set the sails, sit at the wheel or just sit back and relax with the wind in your hair.”