Coast Guard conducts long-range medevac from remote Pacific atoll

HONOLULU — A 74-year-old man arrived in stable condition to Honolulu, Tuesday, after being medically evacuated 1,061 miles from Palmyra Atoll by the Coast Guard.

James Hickman of San Antonio, Texas was safely transported aboard an HC-130 Hercules fixed wing airplane from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point on a 3 hour flight to the air station where local emergency services personnel were waiting to transfer him to Queen’s Medical Center.

“With the largest area of responsibility in the Coast Guard, we rely heavily on our air station crews when conducting medical evacuations or search and rescue missions throughout the Pacific,” said Lt. Brownie Kuk, a command duty officer at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu. “Distance and time are constantly working against us, so it’s imperative to get people to care as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

Watchstanders at JRCC Honolulu received a request Sunday from personnel at the Mayo Clinic for assistance Hickman who was reportedly suffering symptoms of heart complications aboard the 63-foot pleasure craft, Tesla.

JRCC contacted the duty flight surgeon and the patient’s primary care provider who recommended a medevac from Palmyra via Coast Guard aircraft. It was also recommended for a health services technician to accompany the crew to provide in-flight care.

The Tesla was initially located approximately 400 miles north of Palmyra Atoll when Hickman began to experience complications. The master of the vessel transited to Palmyra to await the Coast Guard crew.

JRCC Honolulu is located at the Coast Guard 14th District and has responsibility for search and rescue across 12.2 million square miles of the Pacific Ocean to include the main Hawaiian Islands, Guam, Saipan and American Samoa extending out in all directions.

The Coast Guard is the world’s premier maritime search and rescue agency ready to answer the nation’s call for help, even in the vast regions of the Pacific Ocean.

Each day the Coast Guard conducts 45 search and rescue cases and saves 10 lives. Today’s rescue, over 1,000 miles from Hawaii, demonstrates the importance of the services commitment to recapitalize our aircraft, vessels and boats to be ready to protect the American public.

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