Coast Guard airlifts mariner from bulk carrier to Dutch Harbor

The USCGC Fir. (Sept. 23, 2019) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times
The USCGC Fir. (Sept. 23, 2019) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

A crewman with stroke symptoms aboard the bulk carrier Restinga was airlifted by the Coast Guard from near Cold Bay to Dutch Harbor, in a wing-to-wing transfer with a LifeMed crew, that transported the patient to Anchorage for advanced care.

The Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew was activated on Wednesday, Aug. 11, after the 17th District Command Center received a call from the Alaska Maritime Agency in Dutch Harbor that the 42-year-old man was suffering a possible stroke while the vessel was 140 miles south of Dutch Harbor.

The aircrew aboard a C-130 Super Hercules aircraft was launched from Air Station Kodiak within an hour of the call, followed by the helicopter aircrew, while the vessel made its way closer to Cold Bay.

Once on scene, a rescue swimmer was deployed from the helicopter to recover the patient for transport. Two assets were used for the medevac due to the vessel’s distance offshore, said Petty Officer 1st Class Dustin Lake, an operations specialist at the Juneau command center.

Lake said the MH-60 conducted the hoist while the C-130 was there as a communications platform.

“In the event something happened to the helicopter, they would be there to drop lifesaving rescue equipment,” he said. “Having a secondary aircraft is a common procedure in the Coast Guard and reduced the risk during operations conducted so far offshore.”