Coast Guard rescue crews launch to assist ill fisherman

HONOLULU — Crewmembers aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Rush, homported in Honolulu, are en route to assist an ill crewmember aboard a fishing vessel 500 nautical miles southwest of Oahu, Wednesday.

Watchstanders here in the 24-hour Coast Guard Command Center received a call about noon, Monday from a family member concerned about the health of his brother, the 59-year-old captain of the fishing vessel Pacific Blue. The family member reported he was feeling very ill and in need of immediate medical assistance.

The crew of the Pacific Blue was 820 nautical miles southwest of Oahu at the time of the initial report.

A crew aboard a HH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter and a HC-130 Hercules airplane from Air Station Barbers Point, Honolulu, launched to assist this medevac. The rescue aircrew off the Dolphin launched Tuesday about 5 p.m. and landed on the Coast Guard Cutter Rush shortly thereafter to increase the HH-65’s distance. The rescue crew from the Hercules departed Oahu Wednesday around 1 p.m. Air rescue crews are scheduled to rendezvous with the Pacific Blue and perform a medevac of the ill fisherman.

“There are a lot of moving parts and many people behind the scenes doing great work so we can assist this man as fast as possible,” said Capt. Michael McCraw, Chief of the 14th Coast Guard District’s Response Division. “From the crew members turning wrenches to ensure our aircrafts are flying correctly to the watchstanders coordinating the search and rescue; everyone is doing all they can to get this man the medical attention he needs.”

The Rush was diverted from the Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC), the world’s largest international maritime exercise, prior to this critical mission diversion. RIMPAC is hosted and administered by the United States Navy, but the Coast Guard plays a key role in the exercise.

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