Coast Guard conducts long-range medevac near St. Paul, Alaska

Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter file photo by PA1 Kurt Fredrickson

Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter file photo by PA1 Kurt Fredrickson

KODIAK, Alaska — A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew medevaced a man from a commercial fishing vessel approximately 100 miles north of St. Paul, Alaska, Sunday.

The crew hoisted and transported a 63-year-old crew member from the 147-foot Blue Attu to awaiting Guardian emergency flight services personnel in St. Paul for further care and transport to Anchorage. He was reported to be in stable condition at the time of transfer.

Coast Guard 17th District command center watchstanders received initial notification from Health Force Partners Saturday stating a crew member was displaying symptoms of a stroke. A Coast Guard duty flight surgeon was briefed, and due to the man’s symptoms, the flight surgeon recommended a medevac.

Command center watchstanders directed an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter already in Cold Bay to transit to St. Paul. The watchtanders directed a Kodiak HC-130 Hercules aircrew to transit to St. Paul as well. A second MH-60 Jayhawk aircrew was sent from Kodiak to Cold Bay to be on stand-by.

Once in St. Paul, the Jayhawk aircrew refueled and embarked a Coast Guard rescue swimmer, who was brought to St. Paul via the HC-130 Hercules aircraft. Coast Guard Cutter Healy was in the vicinity of the medevac area, and after the Jayhawk aircrew took off from St. Paul, they re-fueled on board the Healy again before transiting to the Blue Attu to conduct the medevac. That crew was forced to abort the medevac due to unfavorable conditions.

The Jayhawk crew on standby was able to successfully conduct the hoist Sunday afternoon.

The Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules aircrew provided safety and communications cover for the MH-60 Jayhawk aircrew as they conducted the hoist and transported the man back to St. Paul.

“Long-range medevacs in the Bering Sea can be logistically challenging,” said Lt. Megan Peters, Air Station Kodiak operations duty officer on Sunday. “Four aircrews and three air platforms were required to complete this mission. With careful planning, teamwork and patience, we got it done.”

Weather on scene for the hoist was 3-foot seas and 10 mph winds.

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