The Coast Guard medically evacuated a woman after she was bitten by a shark near Palmyra Atoll, Sunday. Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu received a call from the Palmyra research facility director reporting that a 37-year-old female patient sustained a shark bite to her left hand.
A Coast Guard flight surgeon consulted with the medical staff treating the victim and determined that a medevac was warranted due to the risk of infection and possible nerve and tendon damage.
Commercial aircraft were not available until Tuesday. An HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point launched to Palmyra Atoll to conduct the medevac. The woman was transported to Air Station Barbers Point on Oahu where emergency medical technicians safely transported her to Kaiser Permanente Moanalua Medical Center and Clinic for further treatment.
The aircrew flew more than 1,000 miles from Hawaii to Palmyra Atoll to complete the medevac. This is comparable to dispatching an ambulance from Seattle to respond to a patient in San Diego. The 14th Coast Guard District encompasses more than 12.2 million square miles of the Central and South Pacific.
There are four HC-130 Hercules airplanes based on Oahu serving the Central and South Pacific. These aircraft are the primary means of conducting long range missions and are scheduled to be replaced by the HC-130J, which will bring increased speed, range and capability to the Coast Guard mission in the Pacific.