Coast Guard Medically Evacuates Shark Bite Patient

HONOLULU – The victim of a shark attack is receiving medical treatment in Oahu after the Coast Guard conducted a long range medevac from the South Pacific Monday. 

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center received notification Friday from the U.S. flagged vessel Friesland that a crewmember was in need of urgent medical care following a shark attack. The 35-year-old Portuguese national entered the water to untangle fishing net from a submerged object when he was attacked, suffering severe injury to his arm. The attack occurred 740 miles southeast of Tarawa Atoll in the Republic of Kiribati. 

A Coast Guard flight surgeon was consulted and recommended the crew apply a tourniquet and treat for shock. An HC-130 Hercules airplane crew was launched from Air Station Barbers Point Sunday with a six member surgical team from Kalawao Rescue to conduct the medevac. Kalawao Rescue is a Hawaii-based disaster medical team that provides initial and follow-on medical response to major emergencies and disasters. They brought with them 10 units of blood, medical supplies and medications.  

The Hercules flew 2,386 miles to Tarawa and waited for the patient who was flown to shore by helicopter. The patient was then transported to Oahu where he was transferred to awaiting emergency medical technicians in stable condition at Air Station Barbers Point Monday.

The Coast Guard regularly conducts long range medevac and missions across the Central and South Pacific. The HC-130H is scheduled to be replaced by the new HC-130J which will provide increased speed and mission capability to the Pacific region.  

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