(SANTA RITA, Guam) — In a display of exceptional interagency cooperation, a commercial mariner in urgent need of medical care was safely evacuated to Guam on Friday thanks to the swift actions of the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy’s Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25 (HSC-25).
“This successful medical evacuation underscores the strong partnership between the U.S. Coast Guard, HSC-25, and Guam Fire Rescue. Our commitment to the safety of mariners in distress is unwavering, and (this) mission exemplifies that dedication,” said Cmdr. Greg Sickels, deputy commander of the Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam (CGFMSG).
Responders initiated the operation after a 37-year-old Filipino mariner aboard the 1,202-foot Germany-flagged containership Antwerpen Express, located 50 miles off Saipan, exhibited symptoms of a stroke. The Coast Guard’s Joint Rescue Sub-Center in Guam was alerted on the evening of Feb. 6 when the vessel was approximately 550 nautical miles northeast of Saipan. Following a recommendation from the duty flight surgeon for a medical evacuation, HSC-25 mobilized to assist.
An MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter crew from HSC-25 reached Antwerpen Express on the morning of Feb. 9. The mariner was then airlifted from the ship in 7-foot seas and winds of 16 mph, and delivered to emergency medical responders from Guam Fire Rescue at Naval Hospital Guam. They transported him to Guam Memorial Hospital in stable condition.
“HSC-25 conducts more medical evacuations and search and rescue missions than any other Navy helicopter unit. We take great pride in our ability to support the people of Guam and mariners navigating these waters. (This) operation is a testament to our team’s dedication and expertise,” said Cmdr. Neil Toohey, commanding officer of HSC-25.
– U.S. Coast Guard