Air Facility Charleston rescues scuba diver off Georgetown coast

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Coast Guard medically evacuated a scuba diver at approximately 2:30 p.m. Saturday, nine miles off the coast of Georgetown, S.C.

A Coast Guard MH-65 helicopter crew from Air Facility Charleston was already in-flight when a report was made by a crewmember aboard the 60-foot marine vessel Scuba Express, that a 65 year-old male was suffering from a possible heart attack.

Rescued was Harry Winkler, who was scuba diving 120-feet below the ocean’s surface when he began to experience the possible on-set of the heart attack.

Upon arrival, Petty Officer 1st Class Joey Gryzenia, a Coast Guard rescue swimmer and certified emergency medical technician, deployed via freefall from the helicopter approximately 30-meters from Scuba Express and swam to the vessel. He immediately began to assess and prepare the survivor to be hoisted via rescue basket into the helicopter.

Once aboard the helicopter, Winkler was stabilized and placed on oxygen. To avoid possible decompression sickness, the MH-65 crew transported the survivor to Georgetown Memorial Hospital at an altitude of 300 feet. Winkler’s care was transferred to hospital personnel, in stable condition, just seven minutes from being hoisted from the Scuba Express.

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