One man is dead and another stable after the Coast Guard medevaced them from a 636-foot merchant vessel
on the Columbia River Tuesday during two separate operations.
The Coast Guard was contacted by the master of the U.S. flagged vessel Gem State at 11:48 a.m., reporting that a crewmember was complaining of chest pains and possibly suffering from a heart attack and was in need of medical attention.
An HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter was launched from Coast Guard Air Station Astoria in Warrenton, Ore., and reached the ship at 12:45 p.m.
The man was hoisted into the helicopter and flown to Warrenton where he was met by an ambulance for further transport to Columbia Memorial Hospital in Astoria where he was examined and released.
The Coast Guard was contacted again at 6:20 p.m., by the master of the Gem State requesting a medevac for a second crewmember who was also suffering from chest pains.
The crewmember was hoisted into the helicopter 25 nautical miles south of the Columbia River and transported to Astoria for further transport to Columbia Memorial Hospital by ambulance, where he was pronounced dead.
Due to the similarity of the symptoms of the two victims and the close proximity of time between incidents, the Captain of the Port, of Portland, Ore. ordered the Gem State to return to the Astoria Anchorage. The Centers for Disease Control was notified and a team consisting of the U. S. Coast Guard and the Oregon State Department of Health was dispatched to the vessel to conduct an environmental health inspection of the vessel and crew. No results were discovered that would lead the team to conclude that the two incidents were linked in any way.
The Captain of the Port Order restricting the vessel from departing the Astoria Anchorage was rescinded and the vessel was cleared to proceed.