Merchant sailor dies despite multi-agency rescue efforts

129th Air Rescue WingALAMEDA, Calif. – A multi-agency rescue operation to help a seriously ill merchant sailor aboard a cargo ship in the Pacific Ocean was cancelled Wednesday morning after the man was declared deceased.

Tuesday, at approximately 9:50 a.m., the 11th Coast Guard District Command Center received a report of a sick man aboard the 600-foot vehicle carrier Green Ridge approximately 1,000 miles west of San Diego.

The command center requested assistance from the California Air National Guard who dispatched a team of four Guardian Angel pararescuemen to the Green Ridge aboard an Air Force MC-130P Combat Shadow aircraft. The pararescue team jumped into the ocean, boarded the ship and provided medical aid to the man.

The rescue center also contacted the U.S. Navy’s 3rd Fleet to assist, who diverted a Navy ship to rendezvous with the Green Ridge. The Navy ship’s doctor declared the patient deceased Wednesday at approximately 6:15 a.m.

All rescue units have been released from the case.  The Air National Guard team will be taken aboard the Navy ship.

“Our thoughts go out to the shipmates, friends, and families of the crewmember,” said Lt. Cmdr. Andrea Sacchetti, 11th Coast Guard District search-and-rescue mission coordinator. “We appreciate the quick response and dedication of the California Air National Guard’s 129th Rescue Wing who risked their lives to help this gentleman and diligently worked hard through the night to provide care to the patient aboard the Green Ridge.  We would also like to thank the U.S. Navy 3rd Fleet and the crew of the USS John C. Stennis and USS William P. Lawrence for diverting to assist with this complex operation.”

A Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento C-130 aircraft supported the operation by delivering 10 units of blood from Travis Air Force Base to the 129th Rescue Crew at Moffett Air Field before the team departed to the Green Ridge.

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