On Thursday, a U.S. Navy helicopter crew medevaced an injured fisherman from a vessel 370 nautical miles off the coast of Hilo, Hawaii, saving the time that would ordinarily be required for the vessel to get close enough for a Coast Guard medevac.
“When it comes to search and rescue in the Pacific, distance is always a factor we must consider when formulating a response,” said PO1 Stephen Woodbury, a Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu (JRCC) watchstander. “Because of the urgency of the situation, we requested the support of [the Navy] due to the Seahawk’s long range capabilities.”
At 0930 hours on Tuesday, the captain of the fishing vessel Lady Alice called Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu to report that a crewmember had suffered an eye injury while fishing. A Coast Guard duty flight surgeon recommended that the victim should be medevaced as soon as possible.
The Lady Alice diverted towards Hawaii to close the distance and come within range of hoist-capable helicopters, and the Coast Guard asked for assistance from the U.S. Navy’s Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 37 (HSM-37) on Oahu. The Navy Seahawk aircrew launched from Kaneohe Bay once the Lady Alice was within range, and a USCG HC-130 Hercules aircraft crew accompanied them.
On scene, the HC-130 aircrew walked the Lady Alice’s crewmembers through the hoist process. The Seahawk aircrew carried out the lift, despite the small size of the Lady Alice’s working deck and considerable ship motion from the swell. After the successful hoist, the injured mariner was brought to Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu for treatment.