The U.S. Coast Guard said it is preparing to medevac three injured mariners from a vessel currently more than 300 miles south of Kodiak Monday after a large wave reportedly caused multiple injuries aboard a 587-foot containership.
Coast Guard watchstanders at the 17th District command center in Juneau are maintaining contact with the crew of the Liberian-flagged cargo vessel Copacabana until two Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crews and an HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Air Station Kodiak can rendezvous with the vessel and hoist the three men aboard.
The watchstanders received a report of three injured crewmen from the master of the 587-foot vessel located more than 500 miles south of Kodiak Sunday afternoon. A large wave reportedly struck the vessel causing multiple injuries among the three men and a Coast Guard duty flight surgeon recommended a medevac of the men to a higher level of medical care than is available aboard the ship.
The Coast Guard directed the vessel’s crew to alter course toward Kodiak to bring the ship within range of the Coast Guard helicopters and allow ample time on scene for multiple hoists to take place. The Hercules crew will manage communications on scene during the hoists and provide a self rescue capability for the helicopter crews.
“Air Station Kodiak’s focus on training, standardization and teamwork enable us to safely and successfully carry out long range missions," said Lt. Jason Evans, MH-60 standardization officer at Air Station Kodiak. "Using multiple aircraft to accomplish rescues far from land allows us to both increase the safety of our own crews and enhance communications which are vital during rough weather or other adverse conditions."
Weather on scene is reported to be cloudy with 9-foot seas and 23 mph winds.
The Jayhawk helicopter is an all-weather medium-range helicopter configured for search and rescue with a range of 690 miles. The Hercules airplane is a fixed wing four-engine plane used for search and rescue operations, law enforcement patrols and logistics flights with a range of nearly 2,500 miles.