A coast guard helicopter crew evacuated a 23-year-old man from a cruise ship near Glacier Bay on Thursday (6-12-14).
The Coast Guard’s 17th District Command Center in Juneau received a request for help from the cruise ship Crown Princess around 1 p.m. Thursday. The man, a crewmember on the ship, had come down with symptoms that looked like appendicitis.
An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter was dispatched from Air Station Sitka. Coast Guard spokesman Grant DeVuyst said the helicopter had to lower a crew member onto the deck of the 950-foot cruise ship and hoist the sick man aboard.
“What the air crew does is they would lower a swimmer, one of our rescue swimmers, and then a basket after the rescue swimmer,” DeVuyst said. “The rescue swimmer is able to help the crew member get into the basket and hoist it up, and then they lower the cable again and bring the swimmer back on board.”
The medevac took place in fairly calm weather. DeVuyst said this is exactly the kind of situation the crews train for.
“When you’re working with two moving objects, the helicopter and in this case a cruise ship, you have to be proficient at using that equipment,” DeVuyst said. “So they train for it, and they’re able to perform medivacs like this because of it.”
The sick man was flown to Juneau, where he was transported to Bartlett Regional Hospital, DeVuyst said.