A U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) helicopter crew medevaced the captain of a tanker approximately 50 miles offshore of Corpus Christi Wednesday morning. Watch the video here.
Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi command center were notified Tuesday at approximately 4:30 p.m. that the 50-year-old captain of the Weser, a 422-foot oil and chemical tanker vessel was experiencing severe pain in his leg with a possible blood clot. A Coast Guard flight surgeon concurred with the need for medevac.
At the time of the initial report, the vessel was more than 365 miles east of Corpus Christi and beyond the range of responding helicopters. With sunset approaching and taking into account the inherent dangers involved with a night time helicopter hoist, the watchstanders requested the tanker head towards Corpus Christi, so the medevac could be performed as soon as the tanker was in range.
An aircrew aboard an MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter was dispatched at 8 a.m. along with an aircrew aboard an HU-25 Falcon fixed-wing aircraft to act as communications relay and a 45-foot Response Boat — Medium from Coast Guard Station Port Aransas to act as back up. The helicopter crew flew more than 50 miles offshore and arrived at the location of the tanker at approximately 8:45 a.m. The helicopter crew lowered their rescue swimmer to the deck of the ship to stabilize the captain on a stretcher with the assistance of the tanker’s crew. The aircrew then hoisted the captain aboard the helicopter and transported him to Spohn Shoreline Hospital.
“With the nature of his condition, we were concerned with stabilizing the patient’s leg during the hoist,” said Chief Petty Officer Shaun Legas, the rescue swimmer aboard the helicopter. “The sector command center watchstanders and both aircrews had to work through a language barrier with the tanker’s mixed nationality crew. The teamwork and professionalism displayed by all responding units, watchstanders and the tanker’s crew made this difficult operation a success.”
The captain is being treated at Spohn Shoreline Hospital and is in stable condition.