The Maritime Mobile Service Net Part 3

This is the third installment in our 5 part series on the Maritime Mobile Service Net by John Emery

Medical Emergency in the Caribbean

On Wednesday January 30, 2008, at approximately 09:00 EST, SV Silent Passage came to 14.300 MHz and declared an emergency.  At this time the vessel was in the Eastern Caribbean, at approximately 14º N x 062º W.  There were two persons-on-board.  The radio operator was Bev, the Captain’s wife.

Bev’s husband, the vessel’s Captain, had experienced a mild stroke called a TIA.  The Captain had a history of these and Bev had already given him some medication for his condition.  However, he was incapacitated and in need of prompt medical treatment.   Bev said she was not an experienced sailor and also reported that the engines on the vessel did not work.

Members of the Maritime Mobile Service Net and Intercon Net called the USCG and began to arrange for a medical evacuation.  The net members stayed with Bev, rendering assistance by radio and assured her that help was on the way.  They also passed along updated position reports and medical condition reports to the Coast Guard.

As Bev waited for help to arrive members of the Maritime Mobile Service Net instructed Bev what to do (and what not to do) when the rescue helicopter came overhead.  She was also instructed how to stop the boat in the water.

As a result of the nets efforts, shortly after 16:00 EST, the rescue helicopter arrived at the vessels position and evacuated the patient to Guadeloupe.  Immediately thereafter, two French Navy officers boarded the vessel and sailed the boat to Guadeloupe for Bev, who by then was exhausted.

The Captain was treated for his condition in a hospital in Guadeloupe and Bev joined him shortly after landfall.  The Captain is doing well and has recovered from his experience.

The cooperative efforts of the Maritime Mobile Service Net volunteers, the U.S. Coast Guard and the French Navy turned a potential disaster into a very successful rescue.

Tomorrow: Not all emergecies happen at sea.

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