Coast Guard assists ailing 67-year-old engineer aboard bulk carrier in Lake Superior

9th Coast Guard District NewsCLEVELAND — A Coast Guard rescue boatcrew medically evacuated an ailing 67-year-old man from aboard a bulk carrier in Lake Superior Monday evening.

Radio watchstanders at Coast Guard Station Marquette, Mich., received a call from local 911 central dispatch just before 7 p.m. EST. The 911 call relayed contact from the crew of the motor vessel Joseph L. Block. The crew of the vessel were reporting a crewmember suffering from stomach pains and severe dizziness.

After conferring with an on-call flight surgeon, it was determined the man needed to be evacuated. Search and rescue controllers at Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., determined that, given the ship’s location, a rescue boat from Station Marquette could get on scene faster than a rescue helicopter.

A rescue boatcrew launched from the station aboard a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium at 7:13 p.m. They arrived on scene, 38 miles northeast of Marquette, at 8:10 p.m. and transferred the man onto the RB-M.

During the transit to shore, the man was treated by a local EMT, who was already aboard the RB-M. The man was transported to Station Marquette, where a waiting ambulance crew took him to Marquette General Hospital.

The Joseph L. Block is a 714-foot bulk carrier and was en route to Indiana Harbor with a cargo of taconite.

Whenever possible, the Coast Guard utilizes local EMTs and other first responders who have more extensive training to treat injured mariners.

The Response Boat-Medium is one of the Coast Guard’s newest response assets, capable of a top speed in excess of 40 knots.

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