SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – A Coast Guard MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter aircrew and the crew of a 33-foot Special Purpose Craft – Law Enforcement medevaced a passenger from the sailing vessel Orion Monday, approximately 18 miles south of St Thomas, US Virgin Islands.
Medevaced is a 66-year-old man, US citizen, who sustained a head injury aboard the Orion while transiting from Christiansted, St Croix to Compass Point in St Thomas.
Coast Guard watchstanders at Sector San Juan received mayday call from the sailing vessel Orion, via a VHF marine radio communication on Channel 16, reporting the injury and requesting a medevac. Watchstanders directed the launch of a Boat Forces Detachment Saint Thomas marine unit and a Coast Guard helicopter from Air Station Borinquen.
Once on scene, the Coast Guard boat crew transferred two crewmen to the sailing vessel with a first aid kit and administered first aid to the injured passenger. Shortly thereafter, the Coast Guard helicopter arrived and deployed their rescue swimmer to the sailing vessel to assess the situation. The helicopter aircrew then deployed a litter that was received and transferred by the Coast Guard boat crew to the sailing vessel. Due to the active three to five-foot sea state, the aircrew hoisted the patient to the helicopter. The rescue swimmer used a rescue sling to secure the man’s wife and once secured, they were both hoisted from the water safely aboard the aircraft.
“The multi-unit response and proper instruction from the flight surgeon resulted in the rapid medical evacuation of the injured passenger,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher Beasley, Boat Forces Detachment St Thomas coxswain for the case. “The on-scene decisions between the Coast Guard aircrew and our boat crew resulted in a safe and timely rescue. It’s a good time to remind mariners and fellow citizens that the Coast Guard is always ready to respond and assist when emergency strikes.”
The Coast Guard boat crew escorted the sailing vessel Orion to Compass Marina in Saint Thomas, while the Coast Guard helicopter transported the man and his wife to the Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Emergency Medical Service personnel at the airport received and transported to the couple to the Centro Medico Hospital in San Juan, Puerto Rico.