Coast Guard medevacs passenger from cruise ship in Cross Sound, Alaska

Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk file photo

Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk file photo

JUNEAU, Alaska — The Coast Guard medevaced a woman from a cruise ship in Cross Sound, Alaska, Sunday.

Sector Juneau command center watchstanders received a call from the medical officer aboard cruise ship Zuiderdam at approximately 5:00 p.m. requesting medevac of a 65-year-old female passenger experiencing loss of vision.

Watchstanders coordinated the launch of an Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew to assist. The Jayhawk crew arrived on scene at 7:30 p.m. but was unable to conduct a hoist due to a dense marine layer that reduced visibility to an unsafe level. Sector watchstanders assisted in coordinating an updated rendezvous location in Sitka Sound where conditions had improved. At 10:06 p.m., the Jayhawk crew conducted the hoist at the rendezvous location and safety transferred her to awaiting emergency medical services personnel in Sitka.

“This medevac worked seamlessly because of the coordination between the cruise ship, command center personnel, and helicopter crew,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Matt Bitinas, situation unit watchstander at Sector Juneau command center. “The level of communication and cooperation between all involved helped ensure the patient was safely transferred to the next level of care.”

The passenger was last reported in stable condition.

On-scene conditions were 4-foot seas and 12 mph winds.

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