The US Coast Guard evacuated a 66-year-old man from the sailboat Orion on Monday, about 18 miles south of St. Thomas. The man, a US citizen, was injured while the vessel was sailing from St. Croix to Compass Point on St. Thomas, according to a Coast Guard statement.
The Coast Guard Sector San Juan watch reportedly received a Mayday radio call reporting the injury and requesting medical evacuation. They sent a 33-foot boat from St. Thomas and a helicopter from Borinquen Air Station to Puerto Rico.
According to the Coast Guard statement, the Coast Guard boat crew transferred two crew members to the sailboat with a first aid kit and administered first aid to the injured passenger. Shortly after, the helicopter arrived and its crew deployed their rescue swimmer to the sailboat to assess the situation. The helicopter crew then deployed a litter which was received and transferred by the Coast Guard boat crew to the sailboat. Due to active three to five foot waves, the crew hoisted the patient to the helicopter. The rescue swimmer used a rescue sling to secure the man’s wife and once secured they were both hoisted out of the water safely aboard the plane.
“The response from multiple units and appropriate instructions from the flight surgeon resulted in the rapid medical evacuation of the injured passenger,” Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher Beasley said in the statement. “The decisions on the spot between the Coast Guard crew and the crew of our boat allowed for a safe and quick rescue. This is a good time to remind sailors and fellow citizens that the Coast Guard is always ready to respond and help in the event of an emergency.
The Coast Guard boat crew reportedly escorted the sailboat Orion to Compass Marina in St. Thomas, while the Coast Guard helicopter transported the man and his wife to Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport in San Juan, and local emergency medical services personnel took them to Centro Medico Hospital in San Juan.