Coast Guard medevacs 2 mariners in western Alaska

Coast Guard Alaska NewsJUNEAU, Alaska – Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak aircrews conducted two medevacs of mariners reportedly suffering from heart attack symptoms in the waters of western Alaska Wednesday.

Watchstanders with the 17th Coast Guard District command center first received a report Tuesday morning that a crewmember was experiencing heart attack symptoms aboard the 308-foot, Netherlands-flagged motor vessel BBC Denmark, located about 585 miles southwest of Dutch Harbor.

The BBC Denmark crew began closing their distance to Adak Island to facilitate a medevac by an Air Station Kodiak MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew off the Coast Guard Cutter Munro.

The vessel approached Adak Island overnight and the Dolphin crew safely hoisted the ailing 48-year-old mariner Wednesday at 10 a.m.

After the hoist, the helicopter crew transported the patient to Adak for further transport aboard a commercial aircraft to Providence Hospital in Anchorage.

Shortly after the completion of the day’s first medevac, 17th District watchstanders received a second report of a mariner suffering from heart attack symptoms. This report came from the 865-foot container ship APL China, about 420 miles southwest of Kodiak.

Coast Guard communications watchstanders directed the APL China crew to head east, and an Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew launched to rendezvous with the vessel at 1:45 p.m.

The Jayhawk crew arrived on scene at 6:34 p.m. and safely hoisted the 54-year-old mariner into the helicopter, then transported the man to a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane waiting for him at Sand Point for further transport to Providence Hospital in Anchorage.

Both patients were listed in stable condition at the time of transfer to emergency medical personnel.

“During a busy medevac day like this, the standardized training our crews go through really shows,” said Cmdr. Mark Vislay, the Air Station Kodiak operations officer. “Whether attached to an air station, surface asset or command center, 17th District Coast Guardsmen know what is at stake during cases like this and work together to get the job done safely.”

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