A U.S. Coast Guard rescue helicopter crew medevaced the chief engineer off a cargo ship, Monday, after he began experiencing stroke-like symptoms, 85 miles offshore of Galveston, Texas.
Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston Command Center received a notification relayed from the 892-foot cargo vessel Altair, at approximately 5:30 a.m., stating that the chief engineer, a 61-year-old man, suffering from stoke-like symptoms. Watchstanders dispatched an Air Station Houston crew aboard an MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter along with an aircrew from Aviation Training Center Mobile aboard an HC-144 Ocean Sentry to provide top cover and communications.
The helicopter crew lowered their rescue swimmer down to the motor vessel to assess the man’s condition and prepare him for the hoist. The helicopter crew then hoisted the man aboard the helicopter and transported him to the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.
"Communications are an essential element to urgent situations, especially that far offshore," said Petty Officer 1st Class Jeff Linberg, an operations specialist at the Command Center. "We really want to emphasize to mariners how important it is to have safety equipment onboard their vessels and to have a means to communicate if a distress situation arises."
The crewmember is being treated at UTMB and was in stable condition.