Coast Guard, Navy coordinating medical evacuation near Saipan

14th Coast Guard District NewsApra Harbor, GUAM – The Coast Guard and U.S. Navy are preparing for a medical evacuation of an injured crewmember from a 570-foot cargo ship near Saipan, Sunday.

The master of the motor vessel Sikyon contacted Coast Guard Sector Guam Saturday requesting a medical evacuation for a 57-year-old crewmember. The crewmember reportedly fell aboard the vessel and two days later began to develop other complications. The vessel was on a voyage to Taiwan from Tacoma, Wash. when the injury occurred. At the time of notification, the Sikyon was more than 690 miles from Guam making an immediate evacuation by air difficult.

The Sikyon has set a course to Saipan where a Navy aircrew from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25, based out of Andersen Air Force Base, will wait for the ship to come within range for the evacuation. HSC-25 will send a helicopter to Saipan International Airport in preparation to launch Sunday afternoon for the evacuation.

“Sector Guam is responsible for a search and rescue area of responsibility roughly the size of the continental United States. Given that, you sometimes have to get creative with your rescue planning,” said Lee Putnam, Coast Guard Sector Guam search and rescue controller. “Thankfully, by having the vessel head to Saipan we can reduce the transit time for the helicopter so they have enough fuel to hoist the injured crew member and fly back to Guam.”

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