Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi medevacs fishing vessel captain near Baffin Bay

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A Coast Guard rescue helicopter crew medevaced the captain of a fishing vessel near Baffin Bay early this morning.

At approximately 11 p.m. Tuesday, watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi received a Mayday call via VHF channel 16, from a crewmember on the 72-foot fishing vessel, Lady Michelle A, out of Brownsville, Texas. The crewmember stated that the captain of the vessel was having difficulty breathing.

Watchstanders at Sector Corpus Christi immediately launched a Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi aircrew in an MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter and the Coast Guard Cutter Steelhead.

The rescue helicopter located the fishing vessel 16 miles east of Baffin Bay. Upon arriving on scene, the air crew quickly assessed the situation. It was raining with 20-25 knot winds, only one mile of visibility, and 5 to7 foot seas. The rescue swimmer was lowered 75 feet from the rescue helicopter to the fishing vessel in deteriorating weather. Once on the vessel, the swimmer placed the captain in the rescue basket and he was hoisted to the helicopter.

“This medevac was made more difficult due to the weather conditions, but we are trained to conduct these types of operations in the harshest conditions,” said Lt. Scott Stechschulte, one of the pilots aboard the rescue helicopter. “The risks in this situation were reduced by the experience and professionalism of the fishing vessel and helicopter crews. I am glad we were able to assist the vessel’s captain in receiving needed medical attention quickly.”

The man was flown back to Sector Corpus Christi where EMS was waiting to transfer him to the local hospital.

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