Nov 18 2008
Distance and Weather Adds Factor of Difficulty to Rescue
Tuesday, 18 November 2008


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            The United States Coast Guard launched two aircraft from Air Station Kodiak this (Tuesday) morning to conduct an evacuation from a cargo ship approximately 200 miles south of Adak, or about 1,000 miles from here. A 51-year-old crewman is reported to have suffered a stroke aboard the Marshall Islands-flagged ship.

             The Coast Guard received a phone call Monday around 1:45 a.m. from the agent of the 621-foot bulk carrier, Sparrow, requesting a medevac for the Second Officer. The Sparrow crew was able to temporarily treat the Ukrainian man aboard the vessel after he began exhibiting signs of a stroke.

            An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and an HC-130 Hercules airplane are scheduled to leave Adak about 10 a.m. Wednesday morning, and conduct the medevac and return to Adak. If all goes well, the patient will then be transferred to a Life Flight Air Ambulance and flown to Anchorage to receive medical care.

            Coast Guard spokesman Captain Michael Inman says the distance and weather conditions will make the medevac attempt a challenge. A North Pacific low pressure system is moving in from the west, and Iman said the combined travel of both aircraft will exceed 4,000 miles, which is equivalent to flying from St. Louis to Dublin.

            The Marshall Island-flagged vessel was en route from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Indonesia.

            The condition of the patient is unknown at this time.