Coast Guard aircrew medevaced a 57-year-old man suffering chest pains
aboard a 48-foot sailing vessel approximately 200 miles southeast of
Cape Hatteras, Saturday morning.
at the Fifth District Command Center in Portsmouth received Personal
Locater Beacon and Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon alerts
registered to the sailboat Marie Elena at around noon Friday.
Center personnel also received a call from a ham radio operator with
the Maritime Mobile Service Network in Inverness, Florida, who
established a direct connection between the watchstanders and the Marie
Elena’s crew via HF radio.
The operator of the Marie Elena requested a medevac of his ailing crewman.
to the sailboat’s distance offshore, command center personnel directed
the vessel’s operator to head toward Cape Hatteras, then redirected the
crew of Coast Guard Cutter Spencer, who was underway near the
Virginia-North Carolina border. Watchstanders also contacted the
captain of the nearby cargo ship Rolldock Sky, who agreed to close the
40-mile gap and assist the ailing mariner.
to rough seas, the Rolldock Sky’s crew could not safely conduct a
medevac, so the Marie Elena’s operator continued heading ashore.
crew of the Spencer rendezvoused with the sailboat at about 7:30 a.m.
Saturday, launched a small boat crew and transported the man aboard the
MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew and an HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from
Air Station Elizabeth City launched at around 8:30 a.m. The Jayhawk
crew hoisted the man from the Spencer and transported him to Sentara
Norfolk General Hospital in Norfolk.
fact that the EPIRB and PLB were registered and utilized properly
allowed us to hone in on the sailboat’s location," said Petty Officer
1st Class Travis Unser, the search and rescue coordinator for the case.
"The assistance we received from the ham radio operator was crucial in
helping us communicate with the vessel’s crew."