Coast Guard medevacs woman 380 miles west of Bodega Bay

Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City

Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter file photo.

ALAMEDA, Calif. — Coast Guard and San Francisco Fire Department personnel medevaced a woman from a sailboat approximately 380 miles west of Bodega Bay Tuesday morning.

Eleventh Coast Guard District Command Center watchstanders received a notification via satellite communicator at approximately 1:45 p.m. Monday, from the captain of the sailboat Cibola, reporting a 23-year-old woman had accidently ingested antifreeze.

Due to the distance off shore and range limitations of Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco’s MH-65 Dolphin helicopters, watchstanders directed the forward deployment of a Coast Guard Sector San Diego MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew to Air Station San Francisco. Additionally, the Coast Guard Cutter Midgett (WMSL 757) was diverted to serve as a refueling platform for the Jayhawk helicopter.

The Sector San Diego Jayhawk helicopter arrived at Air Station San Francisco at approximately 9 p.m. Monday. The helicopter was refueled, crews were changed and a San Francisco Fire Department paramedic boarded before departing on the medevac mission.

A Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento C-27 Spartan aircrew launched around 9:55 p.m. Monday to provide cover for the Jayhawk crew throughout the mission and rendezvoused with the Jayhawk before both crews headed offshore.

The Jayhawk crew landed on the Midgett to refuel approximately 230 miles west of San Francisco around 11:45 p.m. and then proceeded toward the Cibola.

The Jayhawk crew arrived on scene with the Cibola around 2:15 a.m. Tuesday and lowered the rescue swimmer to assess the situation.

The rescue swimmer assisted in hoisting the woman into the helicopter and once the rescue swimmer was retrieved, the helicopter crew headed back to the Midgett.

“The San Francisco Fire Department paramedic’s assistance was vital to saving the sailor’s life as he assisted the Coast Guard rescue swimmer to stabilize and care for her during the four-hour transit back to San Francisco,” said Douglas Samp, the Eleventh District search mission coordinator.

The Jayhawk crew returned to the Midgett around 4 a.m. to refuel again before flying back to Air Station San Francisco.

“This was a highly complex medical evacuation performed at night, off a small sailboat, hundreds of miles offshore that tested the limits of our crews and equipment,” said Samp. “The sailor’s life was saved by the dedicated teamwork of the San Francisco Fire Department and Coast Guard personnel across eight different units.”

The woman was transferred to awaiting EMS in stable condition and transported to Zuckerburg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center.

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