Coast Guard medevacs cargo ship crewman south of Dutch Harbor, Alaska

KODIAK, Alaska —The Coast Guard medevaced a 37-year-old crewman from the cargo vessel Santa Rufina 11 miles south of Unalaska Island Tuesday.

The Coast Guard received the request for the medevac from the Liberian-flagged vessel relayed through the rescue coordination center in Bremen, Germany, Monday. The crewman, an engineer aboard the vessel, is suffering from a head wound and back pain sustained in a fall aboard the 922-foot vessel while it was 725 miles southwest of Dutch Harbor transiting from South Korea to Panama.

The Coast Guard requested the vessel change course toward Dutch Harbor to come within the helicopter’s range and maintained regular communications with the vessel’s master. A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and crew hoisted the man at 9:17 a.m. and safely transported him to Dutch Harbor where he was met by commercial medevac services for further transport.

“The Coast Guard regularly assists sick and injured crewmen from vessels on international voyages,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Robert Luna, an operations specialist at the District 17 command center in Juneau. “There are limited resources available when you are hundreds of miles out at sea. Communication is a key factor. The master of this vessel used his resources to contact us as soon as possible and kept in regular communication providing updates on their location and the patient’s condition allowing us to plan effectively and get the patient to more advanced medical care as quickly as possible.”

The MH-65 Dolphin helicopter is from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak, but currently deployed to Cold Bay in the Aleutian Islands to support search and rescue and law enforcement activities with the Coast Guard Cutter Active.

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