MIAMI – A Coast Guard helicopter crew with assistance from the cruise ship Carnival Breeze, safely medically evacuated two men 15 miles east of Elliot Key, Fla., March 24.
The Coast Guard received a report that the 28-foot sailing vessel Gretchen Joy had two people aboard, one suffering heart problems and the other sick due to inclement weather. Coast Guard Sector Miami watchstanders launched both an MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter crew and 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew to respond.
Upon arriving on scene, the helicopter crew lowered a rescue swimmer into the water. The swimmer made his way to the sailboat, assessed the condition of the people aboard, and determined a medevac was necessary. Due to the approximately five-foot swells, the rescue swimmer deemed it unsafe to put the people in the water for a basket hoist.
Sector Miami watchstanders decided to divert the Cruise Ship Carnival Breeze, which was approximately five-miles away, to provide a more stable platform to conduct a hoist. The cruise ship arrived on scene and waited for the RB-M to transport the two people to them. Once aboard the cruise ship, the Coast Guard helicopter then hoisted the woman with the heart condition. The remaining patient, stayed aboard the cruise ship where he received medical care. The commercial assistance provider TowBoat US then took the vessel in tow to Convoy Point.
“This medevac exemplifies the great working relationship the Coast Guard has with both the commercial assistance providers and the cruise ship industry,” said Capt. Chris Scraba, Commanding Officer of Coast Guard Sector Miami. “Often times weather increases the level of danger and in this specific case, the cruise ship Carnival Breeze greatly facilitated in quickly getting the patient ashore to a medical facility in the safest manner possible.”
The patient was taken to Ryder Trauma Center where she was later released in stable condition.