Coast Guard aircraft flying 1,000 miles for medevac

KODIAK, Alaska – Coast Guard aircraft launched from Air Station Kodiak Tuesday to fly more than 1,000 miles to conduct a medical evacuation of a 51-year-old crewman reported to have suffered a stroke aboard a bulk carrier approximately 200 miles south of Adak Island, Alaska.

The Coast Guard received a phone call Monday around 1:45 a.m. from the agent of the 621-foot bulk carrier, Sparrow, requesting a medevac for the Second Officer. The Sparrow crew was able to temporarily treat the Ukrainian man aboard the vessel after he began exhibiting signs of a stroke.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and an HC-130 Hercules airplane are flying from Kodiak to Adak Island. Wednesday at approximately 10 a.m., the MH-60 Jayhawk and the HC-130 crews will launch, conduct the medevac off Adak Island with the Sparrow and return to Adak. The patient will then be transferred to a Life Flight Air Ambulance and flown to Anchorage to receive medical care.

“These types of rescues present added challenges in Alaska due to the vast distances and ominous weather conditions,” said Capt. Michael Inman,” chief of response division for the Seventeenth Coast Guard District. “Our rescue crews are routinely charged with overcoming these obstacles while meeting all mission requirements including safe return.”

Combined travel of both aircraft will exceed 4,000 miles which is equivalent to flying from St. Louis, Mo., to Dublin, Ireland.

The Marshall Island-flagged vessel was en route from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada to Indonesia.

The condition of the patient is unknown at this time.

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