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Maryland Police Medevac Crewmember After 10-Foot Fall

Maryland state police medevac from the deck of a bulker
Courtesy Maryland State Police

Published Jul 19, 2023 6:09 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Monday, the Maryland State Police took a brief detour from their everyday duties to medevac a seafarer from a bulker on the Chesapeake Bay. 

At about 1345 hours, the U.S. Coast Guard contacted the Maryland State Police and asked if one of their helicopter crews could hoist an injured seafarer off the deck of a cargo ship. A crewmember aboard the bulker Abtenauer had fallen more than 10 feet off of a ladder, and he needed evacuation to a trauma center for treatment. 

The state police dispatched a helicopter crew out of Middle River, Maryland to rendezvous with the Abtenauer near Kent Island, just south of Baltimore. The helicopter held position over the ship and lowered away a flight paramedic, who helped prepare the patient with a backboard and a Patient Extrication Platform (PEP) bag, an enclosed litter with hoisting straps. 

Once the patient was hoisted safely into the helicopter, the aircrew delivered him to the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore for treatment of his injuries.

The bulker Abtenauer remains moored at the Port of Baltimore. According to her Equasis record, she was detained for ISM Code deficiencies in Australia in March; during that inspection, Australian port state control found four problems with her propulsion and auxiliary systems, two issues with engine room alarm systems, and two unspecified safety issues. 

The Maryland State Police have a unique mandate to provide emergency medevac flight services, stemming from a 1970s-era agreement between the state and pioneering trauma surgeon Dr. R Adams Cowley. The state police force was the first agency to provide trauma life flight services outside of the military, and it continues this service today.