Coast Guard Airlifts 44-Year-Old Male to Safety

CHARLESTON, S.C. – A Coast Guard helicopter rescue crew airlifted a man to safety after he had a medical emergency aboard an 80-foot tug boat approximately 40-miles east of Cape Fear, N.C., Wednesday at 8:22 p.m.

George Erwin, of Jacksonville, Fla.., was medically evacuated last night off the Motor Vessel Socrates by a Coast Guard helicopter crew from Air Facility Charleston after he became severely diabetic and began experiencing swelling in his extremities.

The crew of the tug was making their way through 10-foot seas and called Coast Guard rescue coordinators at Sector North Carolina in Atlantic Beach, N.C., for help. Rescue coordinators diverted the Coast Guard rescue helicopter from a training mission off the coast of Georgetown, S.C., at 7:22 p.m. The helicopter crew arrived at Socrates’ position at 8:22 p.m.

“The amount of time we had because of our fuel level, the rough seas and the small area for the hoist made this the most challenging hoist I’ve ever done,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Cale Bradley, the helicopter flight mechanic who’s responsible for making sure the rescue swimmer and survivor make it to the helicopter safely. “The coordination between my pilot, Lt. Matt Walker, and I was critical to complete the safe rescue of Mr. Erwin.”

The helicopter rescue swimmer was lowered from the helicopter to the tug to assess the situation and decided that the best course of action was to hoist the patient in what’s known as a hoist basket.

Erwin was safely hoisted and transported to Grand Strand Regional Medical Center in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

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