Coast Guard medevacs crewman 70 miles off Oregon coast

MH-60 helo opsSEATTLE — A Coast Guard helicopter crew medevaced a 51-year-old male from a 1,140-foot container ship about 70 miles west of the Columbia River Bar, Friday.

A Coast Guard Air Station Astoria, Oregon-based MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew safely hoisted the man from the German-flagged motor vessel CMA CGM Vela and transported him to waiting EMS personnel, who took him to Columbia Memorial Hospital in Astoria in stable condition.

Watchstanders at Joint Rescue Coordination Center Seattle received a request from Rescue Coordination Center Bremen, Germany, for a medevac of a crewmember reportedly displaying symptoms of appendicitis at 3:10 a.m., Thursday. The vessel was approximately 920 miles west of the Washington coast. JRCC Seattle watchstanders implemented a four-hour communications schedule to monitor the crewmember’s status and ship’s position.

An aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento, California, launched at 4:30 a.m., Friday, aboard an HC-130H Hercules airplane to provide fixed-wing aerial coverage. The Jayhawk helicopter crew arrived on scene at 8:45 a.m., but was unable to complete the hoist because of fog conditions. Watchstanders at JRCC Seattle made arrangements for the vessel to transit closer to land, and directed the launch of a second MH-60 Jayhawk crew at about 3 p.m. The aircrew safely hoisted the man and transported him to Air Station Astoria at 5:30 p.m. Waiting EMS personnel transported him to the hospital in stable condition.

“The outstanding cooperation between watchstanders here, personnel in Germany, Coast Guard units in Oregon and California, and the ship’s crew led to a safe and effective medevac,” said Master Chief Petty Officer Gerald Lee, command duty officer at JRCC Seattle. “We worked through an extended timeframe because of the ship’s distance from shore, and were able to safely coordinate operations and get the man to the medical care he required.”

Weather conditions on scene were reported to be heavy fog with a 100-foot ceiling, 1-2 foot seas and calm winds.

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