Last week, a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter aircrew evacuated a 14-year-old passenger from the deck of the cruise ship Norwegian Breakaway and brought him to shore for medical treatment.
On the morning of June 26, the Breakaway's master notified the Coast Guard that the young passenger was suffering from symptoms of appendicitis. At the time of the call, the cruise ship was roughly 260 nm off of Ocean City, Maryland. Air Station Elizabeth City dispatched an HC-130J aircraft to provide on-scene visibility and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter. The helicopter aircrew hoisted the boy and his grandmother from the bow of the cruise ship without incident, then flew them to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.
“The professionalism exhibited by the crew of the Norwegian Breakaway ensured that the Coast Guard was adequately informed of a life threatening situation aboard,” said Lt. J.G. Dan Dunn, the command duty officer at the Fifth District Command Center. “Their willingness to alter their course inland ensured that the aircrew transported this young man to the appropriate medical facility in a timely manner, thus saving his life.”
It was the second medevac from the Norwegian Breakaway that an Air Station Elizabeth City aircrew had completed within three months. On April 21, the Breakaway notified Fifth District Command Center that a 60-year-old male passenger was experiencing symptoms of kidney failure. The Coast Guard dispatched an MH-60 and an HC-130 to meet the Breakaway at a position 100 nm off the coast of North Carolina. The helicopter crew hoisted the passenger aboard and transported him to a medical center for treatment.