It took a total of four aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak to medevac an injured fisherman off the fishing vessel Baranof on Monday. The reason–the vast distances the aircraft had to traverse to reach him.
The Coast Guard reports that two C-130J Hercules aircraft and two MH-60 helicopter crews coordinated efforts to perform a long-range medevac for the 31-year-old fisherman. The 196-foot vessel Baranof was approximately 300 miles northwest of St. Paul Island at the time.
The man was safely transferred to awaiting emergency medical services personnel in St. Paul, who further transported him to Anchorage for treatment.
The rescue began in the early morning hours Monday when District 17 Command Center watchstanders received a call requesting a medevac for the injured fisherman. That was at approximately 1 a.m. An MH-60 Jayhawk crew successfully hoisted the man at approximately 5:47 p.m.–nearly 17 hours later. Collectively, the four air crews flew for over 30 hours, covering approximately 1,900 miles according to a Coast Guard press release on the case.
One of the pilots, Lt. Matthew Chase said the C-130J’s ability to refuel other aircraft is unique.
Another pilot on the case, Lt. Steve Podmore, who flies helicopters, long-range rescues such as this requires an all-hands effort, careful consideration and detailed planning.
In this case, Podmore said, the success of the aircrew that completed the hoist was made possible by the multiple aircrews that ferried aircraft, provided coverage, coordinated refueling and ramp space, and maintained communications between the crews and personnel at Air Station Kodiak.
Good weather also contributed to the mission’s success. Weather on scene was 5 MPH winds, 8-foot seas, and roughly 10 miles visibility.