Coast Guard medevacs 3 boaters near Bethel, Alaska

Coast Guard Alaska News
KODIAK, Alaska — A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew medevaced an ailing boater and his two companions to Bethel following their rescue by a local search and rescue team Saturday.

The Jayhawk helicopter crew was evaluating the boaters, initially assessed to be in good condition, when the man began reportedly suffering from seizure-like symptoms. The Jayhawk crew immediately transported all three boaters safely to Bethel to awaiting emergency medical services for further medical care.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard 17th District command center received a report Saturday morning from the village public safety officer in Chefornak that the 16-foot aluminum skiff and three-man crew were overdue returning to Chefornak Friday. The report prompted the launch of a Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak HC-130 Hercules airplane crew and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew to search for the boaters.

The Hercules crew located the stranded boaters on a sandbar about one-quarter mile from shore, north of the Ooksokwak River. Due to the low tide and weather conditions on scene the skiff was out of the reach of local responders and the Jayhawk helicopter crew was launched from Kodiak to respond. As conditions improved the Hercules crew, still on scene, communicated with local search teams who were able to rescue with the boaters as the tide began to return.

“Initially we responded to this call as a search and rescue case and it became a medical evacuation,” said Chief Petty Officer Joshua Ryan, a search and rescue controller at the Coast Guard 17th District command center. “Working cooperatively with our search and rescue partners throughout the state is what brings people home and allows us to be effective responders regardless of the type of call.”

Weather conditions on scene were reportedly 40 mph winds with gusts to 63 mph, 10-foot seas and overcast skies.

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