Air Force Pararescue Jumpers Respond to Medical Emergency on Fishing Vessel Off Hawaii

Mike Schuler
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October 5, 2020

n Air Force 129th Rescue Wing HC-130J Combat King II aircrew deploys para rescue jumpers with help from a Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules aircrew during a medical emergency aboard a fishing vessel off Hawaii, Sept. 28, 2020. U.S. Coast Guard still image taken from video

The U.S. Coast Guard, Air Force, and Navy successfully medevaced a 73-year-old mariner from the 84-foot commercial fishing vessel Lady Alice 150 miles east of Hilo, Hawaii on Friday.

The medical emergency began last Monday morning when the owner of the Lady Alice notified JRCC watchstanders that the master of the vessel appeared to be suffering from a stroke. The mariners aboard provided medication and were instructed by JRCC watchstanders to monitor his condition and maintain scheduled communication.

Surgeons from the U.S. Coast Guard and Air Force were consulted and recommended sending Air Force pararescue jumpers from the 129th Rescue Wing to the vessel before the mariner’s condition deteriorated.

An Air Force’s HC-130J Combat King II aircrew launched and once on-scene deployed three pararescue jumpers to help further evaluate the patient. The later determined the patient required more medical care than available, prompting intervention from a Navy Seahawk crew to medevac the mariner to shore.

A Navy Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 37 MH-60 Seahawk aircrew transported the mariner directly to Queen’s Medical Center. He was reportedly in stable condition.

The weather at the time of the medevac was reportedly winds of 12 mph and seas up to 2 feet.

“One of the greatest difficulties when dealing with cases such as this in the Pacific is distance,” said Michael Cobb, command duty officer for Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu. “This is why partnerships with our fellow armed services are so important out here. The Coast Guard, Navy, and Air Force all have different capabilities and through teamwork we were able to aid a mariner in need.”

A video of the parajumpers is below:

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