Coast Guard medevacs Navy sailor from USS Nitze

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – The Coast Guard transported a sailor to the Naval Medical Center Portsmouth Wednesday from the ship 31 miles east of Cape Charles.

Crewmembers of the USS Nitze contacted Coast Guard watchstanders at Sector Hampton Roads at 10:10 a.m. requesting a medevac for a sailor with reported possible appendicitis.

According to Lt. j.g. David Vihonski, a search and rescue controller for the Coast Guard 5th District, the Navy medical personnel onboard the Nitze described the symptoms of appendicitis to the watchstanders. Watchstanders then briefed the Coast Guard flight surgeon, who recommended the medevac.

A MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Elizabeth City diverted from another search flight to transport the sailor.

“The Navy helps us when we need it – like when we have an EPIRB hit far out to sea and the Navy has assets closer by, or when we need to refuel a helicopter,” said Vihonski. “We also help them – however they need. If they have a person who needs saving, we’re there to save them just like we are for anybody else.”

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