Coast Guard Medevacs Man from Fishing Vessel

NEW YORK–A Coast Guard rescue helicopter crew medevaced a 46-year old man, struck in the back of the neck by heavy fishing equipment and suffering chest pains and experiencing difficulty breathing, from a fishing vessel 46 miles southeast of Sandy Hook, N.J., at 11 a.m. today.

The master of the New Bedford, Mass.,-based fishing vessel Dona Martita radioed Coast Guard Sector New York at about 7:30 am. Sector New York and the First District Command Center in Boston consulted a Coast Guard Flight Surgeon who recommended a medevac.

The Coast Guard Cutter Willow, a 225-foot buoy tender home ported in Newport, R.I., was diverted from routine patrol nearby and arrived on scene shortly before 9:00 a.m. A Willow medical team transferred to the 160-foot Dona Martita and placed a neck brace on the fisherman and secured him to a backboard for the medevac.

A Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City HH-65 Dolphin helicopter launched at 9:45 a.m. and arrived within 35 minutes. The air crew hoisted the man safely into the helicopter at 11:04 a.m. He was conscious and appeared to be breathing fine.

Due to reduced visibility and severe weather the Coast Guard helicopter crew landed at the Monmouth County Executive Airport in Belmar, N.J., at 11:35 a.m. instead of making the full trip to Air Station Atlantic City. Awaiting emergency medical personnel took him to the Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune, N.J.

“Commercial fishing is considered one of the most dangerous jobs anyone can perform and accidents at sea do happen,” said Michelle Krupa, Coast Guard Sector New York command duty officer. “It’s how all involved respond to these emergencies that make a difference in someone’s life. The Dona Martita’s master, a Coast Guard cutter crew and a Coast Guard helicopter crew worked flawlessly to get this fisherman the professional medical treatment he needed.”

Weather on scene was seven-foot to eight-foot seas and 27-knot winds. Visibility was reported at 300 feet.

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One Comment

  1. Martyn Keen says:

    Hello to all,
    The date is January 30th and I am the man that was injured in the above story.
    I arrived home two days ago after 7 days in hospital and a further 7 days in a rehabilitation facility.
    I want to thank every single person who helped in the rescue and without a doubt I am alive ONLY because of an amazing team effort.
    This is not hyperbole, my injuries were much more severe than anyone initially realized, with spinal fractures and severe internal damage.
    My wonderful surgeon Dr Michael Laspinusa at the Jersey Shore University medical center actually told my wife and myself that he had never known anyone to survive these injuries.
    In his opinion, internal bleeding would have been fatal within a short period of time.
    Miraculously, my spinal chord and aorta remained intact and hence my long term prognosis is good.
    While I face a long period of recuperation, and must wear a stabilization brace for many months, there is hope that I can lead a pretty normal life.
    I do have titanium rods and all the hardware that goes with it inserted into my spine, that is a small price to pay for the gift of life.
    From the crew of the Coastguard cutter Willow, to the helicopter crew out of Atlantic City, as well as my crew on the Dona Martita and all the wonderful staff at the hospital in New Jersey and rehabilitation center in Portland, Maine, I wish to thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
    If anyone out there has any personal email addresses of anyone involved, I would be very grateful if you would pass them on to me at so that I may send them a personal message.

    Martyn Keen