Rescue swimmer medevacs possible heart attack victim for his first rescue

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A Coast Guard rescue swimmer performed his first rescue Monday, medevacing a crewmember in critical condition from a tanker in the Gulf of Mexico approximately 30 miles off the Matagorda Jetties.

“Because he was unconscious at the time, we had to use our rescue litter, which is a specially designed stretcher we are able to hoist with using the helicopter,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Joseph Winters, the rescue swimmer aboard the helicopter. “Although this was my first actual rescue, it seemed like any day in training. We train as a crew for situations like this regularly, which helped make everything go smoothly.”

The crew of the tanker Trans Iberia contacted Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi watchstanders Monday at 4:16 p.m. to request assistance for a 57-year-old man with medical concerns. A Coast Guard flight surgeon spoke with the ship’s captain and determined the man had a possible heart attack and required immediate medical transport.

The watchstanders launched a crew aboard an MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter at 5:05 p.m. and they arrived on scene at 5:40 p.m. They hoisted the ailing crewman and delivered him to the Citizens Medical Center in Victoria.

“Our Coast Guard teams train to always be ready to respond, and we are thankful we could assist the Trans Iberia with getting their crewmember to medical care.” said Lt. Cmdr. Ryan Matson, the acting air response officer at Sector Corpus Christi. “This could not have been done without the coordinated teamwork and rapid response between the captain of the Trans Iberia, our command center watch standers, our flight surgeon, and our aircrew.”

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