Coast Guard medevacs man off sailboat 120 miles off Corpus Christi, Texas

300 corpus sailboat

An Air Station Corpus Christi helicopter approaches the sailboat Neso to medevac a crewmember.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A Coast Guard aircrew medically evacuated a 29-year-old man off a sailing vessel approximately 120 miles southeast of Corpus Christi, Friday.

At approximately 7:30 a.m., Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi watchstanders received a call via satellite phone from a crewmember aboard the 37-foot sailboat Neso, stating that another crewmember aboard was suffering from severe abdominal pain and dehydration.

Sector Corpus Christi watchstanders diverted an HC-144 Ocean Sentry fixed wing aircrew and launched an MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter crew, both from Air Station Corpus Christi, to conduct the rescue operation. The Ocean Sentry aircraft was able to get on scene quickly and establish reliable communications with the sailing vessel.

Once the helicopter crew arrived on scene, the rescue swimmer was lowered and the distressed man was hoisted aboard the helicopter. The weather rapidly deteriorated during the helicopter’s rescue from light winds and 2 to 4 foot seas to 20 to 25 knot winds and 4 to 6 foot seas. The helicopter crew then transported the man back to Sector Corpus Christi where EMS was waiting.

“The rescue swimmer, Petty Officer 3rd Class Christopher Wilson, was awesome,” said Travis Benn, the man rescued. “I appreciated how he handled the situation. He immediately took control, told me everything was going to be alright and made me feel safe.”

“The success of this case was due to the excellent teamwork and coordination between the Sector Corpus Christi Command Center, HC-144 crew, and helicopter crew,” said Lt. Eric Vryheid, a pilot on the rescue helicopter. “Needing to execute a case beyond the range of our helicopter requires tremendous effort by everyone involved.  We are extremely happy to be able to get Travis out of such an uncomfortable and potentially dangerous situation. We hope he has a full and speedy recovery.”

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