ALAMEDA, Calif.— A Coast Guard aircrew flew approximately 1,000 miles to airdrop a container of life-saving blood to a cruise ship west of San Francisco, May 1.
Personnel aboard the cruise ship Oosterdam contacted the Coast Guard at approximately 9:45 a.m. requesting medical assistance for an ailing passenger. The ship’s onboard doctor was treating the 68-year-old woman for internal bleeding. A Coast Guard flight surgeon was consulted and recommended an airdrop of blood.
At approximately 5:01 p.m., Coast Guard C-130 Hercules aircrew from Air Station Sacramento, Calif., successfully dropped two units of blood, received from a local blood bank in Sacramento, via parachute, to medical personnel aboard the Oosterdam.
The cruise ship will maintain communication with the Coast Guard until it pulls into port in Vancouver, Canada, on May 4.
Coast Guard aircraft are equipped to drop lifesaving equipment to surface vessels and people. Life rafts, radios, emergency rations and medical supplies are the most common, but flexibility in operations is necessary in order to save lives at sea.
“We just completed two weeks of standardization training and were certainly well-prepared for this mission,” said Capt. Michael Eagle, commanding officer of Air Station Sacramento. “I’m proud my crew were able to assist, and we wish only the very best for the patient.”