Coast Guard helicopter crew medevacs woman from cruise ship Westerdam to Puerto Rico

Hovering in a Coast Guard MH-65C Dolphin rescue helicopter

USCG file photo

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO – The crew of an MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter medically evacuated a woman from cruise ship Westerdam Sunday, approximately 95 nautical miles northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

The 63-year-old woman is a U.S. citizen, who was suffering from a ruptured appendix requiring immediate medical attention ashore.

“This was a complex and time critical medical evacuation,” said Cmdr. James Sutton, Coast Guard Sector San Juan Chief of Response. “The crews of the Coast Guard rescue helicopters performed superbly and completed a highly dangerous evolution without incident. The excellent coordination between the Westerdam, the Sector San Juan Command Center, Air Station Borinquen, Puerto Rico State Emergency Management Agency and the Medical Center Hospital ensured the patient received the emergent medical care she needed by delivering her safely to the hospital.”

Coast Guard controllers coordinated with the cruise ship’s crew and launched a rescue helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen, Aguadilla, Puerto Rico to conduct the medical evacuation.  Once on scene with the Westerdam, the helicopter crew hoisted the patient and cruise ship nurse onto the aircraft. The Dolphin helicopter crew transported the patient to Air Station Borinquen, where she was transferred to a second Coast Guard helicopter that completed her transport to the Medical Center Hospital in Río Piedras, Puerto Rico, where she was transferred to awaiting Emergency Medical Services personnel.

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