Coast Guard Cutter Buckthorn medevacs injured Canadian crewman

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – The crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Buckthorn medically evacuated a 41-year-old male mariner experiencing pain and numbness in his left arm off the 698-foot Canadian laker, Michipicoten, offshore Waiska Bay Friday at approximately 9 a.m.

“We were making preparations to do ATON [Aids to Navigation] when we received a call from VTS [Vessel Traffic Services] to medevac a crewman from the Michipicoten,” said Chief Warrant Officer Scott Walker, commanding officer of the Buckthorn. “He had good vitals, and our corpsman gave him oxygen.”

Walker and his 100-foot inland buoytender crew transferred the man safely to awaiting Emergency Medical Services at the MacArthur Lock.

The Buckthorn effected a safe medevac in two to three-foot seas and winds of 30 knots.

Prior to the call for help, the crew was gearing up to remove buoys from Middle Neebish Channel for Operation Fall Retrieve, which is the largest domestic buoy recovery operation in the United States.

Built in 1964, the Buckthorn conducts the Aids to Navigation mission for the St. Marys River’s 123 lighted bouys, 16 ranges and 71 shoreside lights, including 39 Canadian bouys.

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