Video: Pararescue Jumpers Save Master of Fishing Vessel Off Hawaii

Video courtesy USCG

Published Oct 4, 2020 1:14 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Friday, Air Force pararescue jumpers and a U.S. Navy helicopter crew medevaced the 73-year-old captain of the commercial fishing vessel Lady Alice at a position about 150 miles east of Hilo, Hawaii. 

At 0740 hours on Monday, the owner of the Lady Alice told the Coast Guard that the master of the vessel was suffering symptoms of a stroke. The vessel's crew gave him medication, and JRCC Honolulu instructed them to monitor his condition. 

Given the circumstances and the distance, duty flight surgeons from the Coast Guard and Air Force recommended sending Air Force pararescue jumpers from the 129th Rescue Wing to the vessel before the captain's condition deteriorated. 

An Air Force’s HC-130J Combat King II aircrew responded to the scene and deployed three pararescue jumpers. A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules aircrew provided weather updates and support overhead during the operation. 

When the pararescue team boarded the Lady Alice, they determined that the patient required more medical care than available on board. The U.S. Navy deployed a long range Seahawk helicopter crew to medevac the mariner to shore. 

The Seahawk aircrew transported the captain directly to Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu. He was reportedly in stable condition.

“One of the greatest difficulties when dealing with cases . . . 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.”