Coast Guard, Navy conduct joint rescue of crewman from research vessel Kilo Moana off Oahu

MH-60R Seahawk helicopter (U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Cody

MH-60R Seahawk helicopter File Photo (U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Cody M. Deccio)

HONOLULU — A 55-year-old crewman from the research vessel Kilo Moana arrived safely to Honolulu Tuesday following a joint medevac conducted by the Coast Guard and Navy 175 miles northeast of Kaneohe Bay.

“This case illustrates the importance of our partnership with the Navy and the value of hoist capable helicopters to conduct medevacs so far offshore, allowing us to deliver mariners to a higher level of medical care in the shortest amount of time possible,” said Lt. j.g. Tim Lae, of Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu.

A Navy MH-60 Seahawk crew from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 37 hoisted the crewman aboard and safely delivered him in stable condition to emergency medical personnel at Kaneohe Bay at 6:17 p.m. He was further transported by ambulance to Queens Medical Center. A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules aircrew flew cover and provided additional communications for the Seahawk crew.

The Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu received a request for a medevac from the captain of the Kilo Moana Monday evening. The crewman reportedly injured his foot when a box of frozen goods fell on it and his condition had declined in the 24 hours since. The vessel was more than 500 miles offshore of Oahu at the time of the request.

Watchstanders from JRCC Honolulu consulted the vessel’s on call doctor at George Washington Medical Facility and the Coast Guard duty flight surgeon who both recommended the medevac. The captain of the vessel altered course toward Oahu to close the distance and it was determined an HSM-37 Seahawk was the safest and quickest means to transport the crewmember to higher medical care.

The Seahawk crew departed Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay around 2:15 p.m. The Hercules crew departed Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point on the west side of Oahu near Kapolei, met up with the Seahawk en route and provided cover during the hoist and return transit.

The Kilo Moana is a 186-foot research vessel, based out of Honolulu, owned by the Navy and operated by the University of Hawaii Marine Center.

HSM-37 is the largest expeditionary squadron in the Navy and the Easyriders support all Pearl Harbor-based Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and Ticonderoga-class cruisers with 15 Seahawks. While anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare are their primary missions, secondary missions include search and rescue and medical evacuations.

The men and women of Air Station Barbers Point serve as “Guardians of the Pacific” in the largest and most culturally diverse of all Coast Guard operating areas — 12.2 million square miles of open ocean, atolls, and island nations. They enhance the readiness of the 14th District with long range patrol and logistical support capabilities, as well as quick and versatile search and rescue response using the Hercules and the MH-65 Dolphin helicopter.

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