Coast Guard aircrew flies 900 miles to airdrop blood and medical supplies to cruise ship

14th Coast Guard District NewsHONOLULU – Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules aircrew flew more than 900 miles to airdrop a package containing blood and medical supplies to a cruise ship northeast of Hilo, Hawaii, today.

Medical personnel from the Carnival Spirit contacted the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu at approximately 5:30 a.m. requesting medical assistance for an ailing passenger. The ship’s on board doctor treated the 67-year-old woman for medical complications and determined that the woman’s condition would be stabilized with additional blood.

The cruise line and the Coast Guard coordinated with the blood bank at Tripler Army Medical Center to provide six units of blood for the patient. The blood was transported to the Coast Guard’s air station at Barbers Point where it was packaged in a shatter-proof rescue container.

The Hercules aircrew was on scene with the Carnival Spirit at approximately 8 a.m. After assessing the ship’s layout, the aircrew flew over top of the cruise ship dropping a trail line directly on the bow, followed by the rescue container which landed in the water and was pulled aboard by the ship’s crew. The blood was retrieved in good condition.

“As the cruise ship comes closer to the Hawaiian Islands we will have additional Coast Guard assets available to medically evacuate the patient if needed,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Stacie Hudson, a rescue coordinator with the JRCC.

The Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane has been a multi mission work horse for the Coast Guard for more than 20 years HC-130 Hercules is scheduled to be replaced by the more efficient and technologically advanced HC-130 Js.

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