Coast Guard medevacs diver near Cape Lookout, NC

A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter

Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter file photo

WILMINGTON — The Coast Guard medevaced a man who was showing signs of decompression sickness approximately 10 miles east of Cape Lookout, North Carolina, Sunday.

A crewmember aboard a 52-foot diving vessel contacted the Coast Guard Sector North Carolina command center via VHF-FM radio channel 16 at 10 a.m. and notified them the diver may have surfaced too quickly and was experiencing shortness of breath.

Sector North Carolina diverted a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City that was conducting training nearby.

Once on scene, the aircrew was able to safely hoist the man up and transport him to Norfolk Sentara Leigh Hospital in Norfolk, Virginia.

“Divers experiencing decompression sickness need to receive medical attention as soon as possible,” said Lt. Tiffany Zehnle, command duty officer. “Today, the crew contacted us immediately after they noticed the symptoms, like shortness of breath after the diver surfaced, which really made this a successful case. Some other symptoms to be on the lookout for are numbness, dizziness and pain in joints after surfacing from a dive.”

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