Coast Guard medevacs fisherman near St. Paul

Crewmember from F/V Blue Attu suffered symptoms of stroke.

Poor on-scene conditions mandated second try on Sunday afternoon, which was successful.


Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak on Sunday medivaced a fisherman near Saint Paul who showed symptoms of stroke.

Helicopter aircrew members had to take two tries at the rescue because of unfavorable conditions on site. The first helicopter was forced to abort the mission; a second helicopter was able to complete the medevac Sunday afternoon.

Nate Littlejohn is a Coast Guard spokesman.


“A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew medevaced a man from a commercial fishing vessel approximately 100 miles north of St. Paul, Alaska, Sunday. The crew hoisted and transported a 63-year-old crew member from the 147-foot Blue Attu to awaiting Guardian emergency flight services personnel in St. Paul for further care and transport to Anchorage. He was reported to be in stable condition at the time of transfer.”


Littlejohn said the case started on Saturday with a call to Juneau requesting assistance.


“Coast Guard 17th District command center watchstanders received initial notification from Health Force Partners Saturday stating a crew member was displaying symptoms of a stroke. A Coast Guard duty flight surgeon was briefed, and due to the man’s symptoms, the flight surgeon recommended a medevac.”


Long-distance medevacs such as this one require a lot of coordination among different Coast Guard assets.  Littlejohn says in this case the medevac required the services of two MH-60 helos, one HC-130 Hercules plane, all from Kodiak; the forward operating location in Cold Bay, which is crewed by personnel from the Kodiak Air Station during crab season; and the Coast Guard icebreaker Healy which was in the area on patrol.


“Command center watchstanders directed an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter already in Cold Bay to transit to St. Paul. The watchstanders directed a Kodiak HC-130 Hercules aircrew to transit to St. Paul as well. A second MH-60 Jayhawk aircrew was sent from Kodiak to Cold Bay to be on stand-by.

Once in St. Paul, the Jayhawk aircrew refueled and embarked a Coast Guard rescue swimmer, who was brought to St. Paul via the HC-130 Hercules aircraft.

Coast Guard Cutter Healy was in the vicinity of the medevac area, and after the Jayhawk aircrew took off from St. Paul, they re-fueled on board the Healy again before transiting to the Blue Attu to conduct the medevac. That crew was forced to abort the medevac due to unfavorable conditions.

 The Jayhawk crew on standby was able to successfully conduct the hoist Sunday afternoon.”


In addition to transporting a rescue swimmer out to the area, Littlejohn said, the C-130 also provided safety and communications cover for the MH-60 crew as they conducted the hoist and transported the man to St. Paul.

Weather on scene for the hoist was 3-foot seas and 10 mph winds.

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