Coast Guard medevacs 4 men from sailboat near Arecibo, Puerto Rico

45 Foot Response Boat Medium

USCG file photo

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO – The crew of a Coast Guard Station San Juan 45-foot response boat medically evacuated the four-man crew aboard the sailing vessel Manua Thursday in waters 16 nautical miles north of Arecibo, Puerto Rico.

The three Canadian and one U.S. citizens were reportedly fishing aboard the 32-foot sailing vessel, when they became severely ill after all four crewmen suddenly began showing symptoms of possible food poisoning.

Coast Guard Sector San Juan watchstanders received a VHF-Channel 16 distress radio call from the captain of the Manua, who reported the incident.

“The success of this rescue highlights the importance of having a marine band VHF radio,” said Lt. Cmdr. Peter Jones, Sector San Juan Command Center chief. “Had Manua not had such a radio and relied on cell phone or another communications method, the outcome of this case could have been tragic. We strongly encourage all mariners to install a VHF marine radio in their vessel.”

Coast Guard Station San Juan proceeded to launch a 45-foot response boat to conduct the medical evacuation. Once on scene with the Manua, the Coast Guard crew embarked all four men and began treating two of the most severely ill crewmen for shock. The Coast Guard crew headed to the Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces for Rapid Action (FURA) Boat Station in Arecibo, where they transferred the patients to awaiting Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel at approximately 1:40 a.m. Thursday. EMS transported the patients to the Arecibo Regional Hospital to receive further medical care.

“The response of this Coast Guard crew was exceptional,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Robert C. Pump, Station San Juan’s officer in charge. “They demonstrated professionalism, expert seamanship and outstanding judgment in a difficult situation, and their actions directly resulted in four lives saved.”

The crew of the Coast Guard 45-foot response boat returned to the sailing vessel Manua and sailed it to the FURA station in Arecibo, where it was secured.

VHF Channel-16 marine radio transmissions have traditionally been the international maritime distress frequency, monitored by search and rescue authorities.

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