Coast Guard, partners medevac mariner from fishing vessel off Hawaii

US Air Force HC-130J Combat King II file photo

HONOLULU — The Coast Guard, Air Force, and Navy successfully medevaced a 73-year-old mariner from the 84-foot commercial fishing vessel Lady Alice 150 miles east of Hilo, Friday.

A Navy Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 37 MH-60 Seahawk aircrew transported the mariner directly to Queen’s Medical Center. He was reportedly in stable condition.

“One of the greatest difficulties when dealing with cases such as this in the Pacific is distance,” said Michael Cobb, command duty officer for Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu. “This is why partnerships with our fellow armed services are so important out here. The Coast Guard, Navy, and Air Force all have different capabilities and through teamwork we were able to aid a mariner in need.”

At 7:37 a.m., Monday, the owner of the Lady Alice notified JRCC watchstanders that the master of the vessel appeared to be suffering symptoms of a stroke. The mariners aboard provided medication to the patient and were instructed by JRCC watchstanders to monitor his condition and maintain scheduled communication.

Duty flight surgeons from the Coast Guard and Air Force were consulted and recommended sending Air Force pararescue jumpers from the 129th Rescue Wing to the vessel before the mariner’s condition deteriorated.

An Air Force’s HC-130J Combat King II aircrew launched and once on-scene deployed three pararescue jumpers. An Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules aircrew provided weather updates and support overhead during the operation.

Further evaluations from the parajumpers determined the patient required more medical care than available. This prompted the Navy’s intervention with the use of their Seahawk crew to medevac the mariner to shore.

The weather at the time of the medevac was reportedly winds of 12 mph and seas up to 2 feet.

An Air Force 129th Rescue Wing HC-130J Combat King II aircrew deploys para rescue jumpers with help from a Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules aircrew during a medical emergency aboard a fishing vessel off Hawaii, Sept. 28, 2020. The patient was later transferred by a Navy helicopter to shore for higher medical care. (U.S. Coast Guard video courtesy of Air Station Barbers Point)

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