Coast Guard medevacs heart attack victim from cruise ship

Posted at 2:36 PM, May 19, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-19 15:06:44-04

Portsmouth, Va. – The Coast Guard medevaced a 50-year-old man Saturday from the Carnival Splendor, a 952-foot cruise ship, approximately 150 miles east of Cape Lookout, N.C.

A medical representative aboard the Carnival Splendor contacted Coast Guard watchstanders at approximately 8 p.m. reporting a man suffered a heart attack and was in need of assistance.

Personnel from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., dispatched crews aboard an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and an HC-130 Hercules aircraft to assist.

“The Hercules is launched as a safety asset to provide cover for the Jayhawk crew when they’re conducting search and rescue cases far from shore,” said Lt. Zach Huff, the operations duty officer and a Hercules pilot. “The Hercules crew uses their weather radar and relays that information to the helicopter for safe navigation. They’re also able to locate the ship, conduct a safety brief with the ship’s crew prior to the helicopter’s arrival and vector in the Jayhawk.”

With coordination from Coast Guard Sector North Carolina watchstanders, the Hercules crew arrived on scene, located the vessel and established communications with the Carnival Splendor. When the Jayhawk crew arrived on scene, they hoisted the man and a nurse into the helicopter and took them to the air station. There, the Jayhawk crew swapped out with a standby crew, who flew the man and nurse to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.

The patient was reported to be in stable condition.

“I got to help someone today,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Steve Scheren, the rescue swimmer aboard the Jayhawk. “This is why I joined the service. You spend so long training, hearing instructors yell ‘so others may live,’ it’s nice to really feel that you’re living your creed.”