Coast Guard Medevacs Cruise Ship Crewmember

HONOLULU – The Coast Guard received a call at 4:30 p.m. Monday from the captain of the cruise ship Zaadam about a 40-year-old male who needed medical evacuation. Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point responded with two units to assist on the case.

Crewmembers of an HH-65 Dolphin helicopter and a C-130 search plane responded late Monday. Crews had to wait until the Zaadam was closer to land to conduct evacuation operations. The helicopter crew launched around 11 p.m. to fly to Hilo International Airport where they refueled quickly. Refueling in Hilo gave the crew more time to conduct the medical evacuation.

After arriving on scene, a Coast Guard rescue swimmer was deployed to recover the evacuee and a nurse who was aiding with medical treatment on board the Zaadam. A number of factors, including the amount of fuel, distance to shore and weight of the helicopter, forced the helicopter pilots to decide to leave the rescue swimmer behind on the Zaadam overnight. The cruise ship’s nurse stayed with the evacuee on the helicopter so he could receive the best medical care possible with respect to “patient care continuity.”

The crew of the C-130 search plane circled above while the crew of the helicopter conducted the evacuation. After the helicopter crew retrieved the patient and nurse, they quickly flew back to Hilo to rendezvous with the C-130 crew. Emergency crews transported the evacuee and nurse to the C-130 plane because it could fly much faster than the helicopter back to Honolulu. The crew of the C-130 plane flew to Honolulu International Airport around 4:15 a.m. on Tuesday and county emergency medical technicians transported the patient to Queen’s Medical Center

The Coast Guard rescue swimmer was scheduled to be picked up by a Coast Guard crew yesterday in Hilo where the Zaadam dropped him off after spending the night on the cruise ship.

Video of the hoist.

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