Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak medevacs crewmember from icebreaker north of Barrow, Alaska

Coast Guard Alaska News
KODIAK, Alaska — A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter medevaced a crewmember suffering from a head injury from the South Korean research icebreaker Araon 250 miles north of Barrow, Wednesday.

The helicopter crew, forward deployed to Barrow in anticipation of the forward operating location opening today, safely hoisted the 43-year-old male from the Araon and transported him to emergency medical personnel in Barrow.

Coast Guard 17th District command center watchstanders received the medevac request from the crew of the Araon Tuesday afternoon. The icebreaker crew began heading south to get within range of the Jayhawk helicopters in Barrow. Command center watchstanders also contacted the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Healy, who are engaged in science missions in the Arctic, to support communications with helicopter crews for the flight.

Once the Araon closed the distance to land, both Jayhawk helicopter crews at forward operating location Barrow launched to rendezvous with the icebreaker. The aircrews arrived on-scene, safely hoisted the injured man and an accompanying translator, and returned to Barrow.

“Maritime activity in the Arctic has steadily increased during the past several years, and this emergency situation highlights the importance of having a Coast Guard forward operating location in the region,” said Capt. Joseph Deer, chief of incident management, Coast Guard 17th District. “Our ability to respond and effectively carry out rescue missions relies heavily on minimizing distances, honing communications capability and strengthening our maritime domain awareness in our northernmost area of responsibility.”

The FOL in Barrow is part of the 17th District’s Arctic Shield 2014, in concurrence with the Coast Guard Arctic Strategy.

Weather on scene was reported as 35 degrees, 17 mph winds and heavy fog.



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