Coast Guard Assisting Tropical Storm Noel Victims in Dominican Republic

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – U.S. Coast Guard helicopter rescue crews supporting humanitarian and search and rescue efforts in the Dominican Republic saved 42 lives and delivered 15,900 food rations to storm victims Friday, after Tropical Storm Noel caused major flooding throughout the country.

U.S. Coast Guard helicopters were rapidly deployed to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, Thursday after humanitarian relief and search and rescue assistance was requested by the country’s government from the U.S. through the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo.

Among the people who were saved or assisted by Coast Guard aircrews Friday were:

  • Two pregnant women who were medically evacuated from a flooded area by the crew of an HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and transported to a designated safe site.
  • The crew of a HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter with a U.S. Military Assistance and Advisory Group (MAAG) officer on board, delivered heart medication to a critically ill child with Down Syndrome who could not be transported on the aircraft due to the child’s condition.
  • A severely dehydrated pregnant woman was hoisted by the crew of an HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter, and while on board the aircraft, the woman’s water broke and she started experiencing labor contractions. The woman was transported safely to Dominican Republic emergency authorities.
  • The crew of an HH-65 Dolphin helicopter deployed a rescue swimmer who freed a man who was entangled in a barb-wire fence and was submerged in neck-deep water. The man was hoisted aboard the helicopter and transported to safety.
  • During the medical evacuation of another pregnant woman, an HH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew was informed of a severely dehydrated 70 to 80 year-old man who was trapped on the second floor of a home. The elderly man reportedly was unable to open his eyes. The Coast Guard flight mechanic and rescue swimmer located the man along with a nine-year-old child. The crewmembers brought the man and child aboard the helicopter and transported them to safety.
  • A doctor was transported by the crew of an HH-65 Dolphin helicopter to the site where a woman was in the process of giving birth. The doctor remained with the woman to assist with the delivery while the helicopter’s mission continued elsewhere.

Coast Guard personnel in the Dominican Republic Saturday coordinated with the MAAG to position one HH-65 Dolphin helicopter and two HH-60 Jayhawk helicopters from Puerto Plata to San Isidro, Dominican Republic. The movement of the aircraft will help in search and rescue operations and will better support the distribution of humanitarian aid in Barahona, Bahoruco and Azua and also reach storm victims in the Bajo Yuna region, Dominican Republic.

Coast Guard aircraft will continue to operate out of San Isidro Air Base, Santo Domingo and search for people in need of assistance, conduct emergency medevac’s and deliver food and water to storm victims.

Two HU-25 Falcon jet’s also conducted flight assessments of the affected areas in the Dominican Republic Wednesday and the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa deployed to Dominican Republic waters to serve as a communication’s platform during the humanitarian response.

Coast Guard Cutter Tampa is a 270-foot Medium Endurance Cutter home ported in Portsmouth, Va.

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