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NEW ORLEANS — The Coast Guard medevaced a 76-year-old man from a cruise ship Saturday approximately 300 miles offshore Fort Morgan, Alabama.
Coast Guard Sector Mobile watchstanders received a call at approximately 4:31 a.m. from the crew of the Carnival Dream cruise ship requesting a medevac for a passenger aboard experiencing heart attack-like symptoms.
The Sector Mobile watchstanders coordinated the launch of Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile HC-144 Ocean Sentry and Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-60 Jayhawk aircrews to assist.
The Jayhawk aircrew arrived on scene and lowered their rescue swimmer. While hoisting a cruise ship nurse, a severe squall caused the aircrew to back off from the ship. The helicopter then encountered a severe downwind, prompting the aircrew to recover the aircraft close to the water's surface. Both the Jayhawk helicopter and Ocean Sentry aircraft returned to base due to weather.
A second Air Station New Orleans Jayhawk helicopter aircrew later returned to the scene, hoisted the patient and rescue swimmer, and transferred the patient to awaiting emergency medical services personnel at University Medical Center.
“Yesterday, Air Station New Orleans responded to a medical evacuation from the cruise ship Carnival Dream," said Cmdr. Keith Blair, commanding officer, Air Station New Orleans. "During the rescue, the aircrew experienced severe and rapidly deteriorating weather that forced them to abort the mission. Through exceptional real-time risk management, crew resource management, and superb piloting, the aircrew was able to safely recover the aircraft and land at the air station without further incident. Through continual coordination with U.S. Coast Guard Eighth District, Sector Mobile, and Aviation Training Center Mobile, Air Station New Orleans was able to later return to the cruise ship and recover the patient and rescue swimmer, delivering the patient to University Medical Center for treatment in stable condition.”
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