Air Station Los Angeles Weekend Includes Alaskan Rescue

LOS ANGELES – Aircrews from the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station in Los Angeles were busy this past weekend responding to medical evacuations ranging from scuba diving incidents in Southern California to medical injuries off the coast of Alaska.

On the morning of July 26th Air Station Los Angeles responded to a call from the diving vessel Bottom Scratcher with a report of a 69 year old male with labored breathing after a 112’ dive at oil platform Eureka, off the coast near Long Beach, Calif. The Coast Guard HH-65C Dolphin helicopter arrived on scene and lowered a rescue swimmer and litter to assist with medical aid. Also on scene were lifeguard vessels from L.A. and Orange County Lifeguard stations throughout the area. As the aircrew made preparations to hoist the patient they were diverted to a higher priority dive incident near San Nicholas Island. The rescue swimmer was hoisted back to the helicopter to divert and the victim was transferred by L.A. County Lifeguards and then taken Long Beach Memorial Hospital.

The aircrew returned to the air station for fuel, then responded to the dive boat PEACE near San Nicholas Island for another call. PEACE reported a 60 year old male suffering from a possible diving related illness and radioed for assistance. The helicopter arrived on scene and lowered the rescue swimmer to the dive vessel. The patient and swimmer were then hoisted to the helicopter and the patient delivered to the USC Hyperbaric Chamber located at Two Harbors, on Catalina Island.

On Sunday, July 27, 2008, an aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Los Angeles, while deployed aboard a Coast Guard cutter in the Bering Sea, medically evacuated two patients. The crew flew in the early morning hours to the M/V AMAZON for a patient suffering from chest pain. The crew hoisted the patient and transported him to Earekson Air Station on Shemya Island, Alaska, to awaiting paramedics. After the patient was dropped off, the aircrew and helo departed to Attu Island, approximately 1,700 miles West of Anchorage and only 200 miles East of Russia, to medically transport a patient suffering from a compound fracture of the foot. The patient was picked up and transported to EMS at Shemya Island as well. Weather made the flying difficult, as the visibility was only about half of a mile and the fog layer at 75-175 ft off the water.

The aircrews at the Los Angeles based Coast Guard Air Station are trained to handle many types of scenarios and heve to be able to adapt to constantly changing conditions during emergency cases. This past weekend demonstrated how training leads to successful operational missions and lives being saved; From the sunny weather in Southern California, all the way to the stormy seas off Alaska.

Air station Los Angeles averages about 200 emergency cases and saves or assists approximately 75 lives a year.

Based on a Public Affairs Detachment Los Angeles press release.

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