Coast Guard Rescues Man Overboard in Vicinity of Oil Spill

NEW ORLEANS – A Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans helicopter crew rescued a man after he was reported overboard from a decontamination vessel taking part in the Deepwater Horizon response effort the morning of July 5, 2010.

The vessel Philip Allen McCall radioed to nearby vessels some time after 3 a.m. that the man, identified as 49-year-old Ricky Johnson, was missing 50 miles off the coast of Venice, La. and had presumably fallen overboard in the early morning darkness. He was last seen approximately 15 minutes earlier.

The vessel C-Escort joined the search for Johnson and later requested help from the Coast Guard at about 6:00 a.m, which dispatched the helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans, and a C-144 Casa airplane from the Coast Guard Aviation Training Center in Mobile, Ala.

After several hours of searching by several boats and the two Coast Guard aircraft, the C-Escort spotted Johnson at about 9:00 a.m. and relayed his position to the aircraft. Johnson first tried to climb aboard the C-Escort but, after several hours adrift in the Gulf of Mexico, was too weak to climb the vessel’s ladder.

A Coast Guard rescue swimmer descended from the Dolphin helicopter and assisted Johnson into a rescue basket so he could be hoisted aboard and transported to West Jefferson Hospital in Jefferson Parish, La., for treatment. His condition is unknown at this time.

U.S. Coast Guard video by Petty Officer Nathan Falkenstein.

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