Coast Guard conducts medevac near Apostle Islands

CLEVELAND — A U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City aircrew medically evacuated an 83-year-old passenger, who was reportedly experiencing chest pains and shortness of breath, from the laker Paul R. Tregurtha near the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior, Oct. 5, 2010, at approximately 9 a.m.

HOUGHTON, Mich. -- Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew O'Dell assists local Emergency Medical Technicians with the transfer of John Hughes, to a waiting ambulance

Rescued was John Hughes.

The captain of the Tregurtha contacted Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie on channel 16 reporting the emergency about 30 nautical miles northeast of the Apostle Islands.

Air Station Traverse City received notification of the man’s distress and launched an HH-65 Dolphin helicopter and crew, consisting of Lt. Cmdr. Edward Geraghty, Lt. Chad Thompson, Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew O’Dell and Petty Officer 3rd Class Theodore Mace at about 5:40 a.m.

The aircrew lifted the man at about 9 a.m. and transferred him to waiting Emergency Medical Services at Houghton Airport.

“We lowered the swimmer onto the deck, and he got the patient packaged in the litter so we could lift him up,” said Geraghty.

Mariners are encouraged to invest in a VHF-FM radio as their primary means of distress alerting on the water. Communication via VHF-FM radio provides superior alerting capabilities over cellular phones. When a MAYDAY is sent out via VHF-FM radio it is a broadcast, not just one party is receiving the distress call; any nearby boaters can hear the distress call and offer immediate assistance.

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