USCG Carries Out Second Ultra-Long-Range Medevac for F/V Baranof

File image: USCG airlifts injured crewmember from the deck of the Baranof, June 1 (USCG file photo)

Published Jun 19, 2020 3:35 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Wednesday, Coast Guard aircrews carried out the second long-range medevac for a crewmember of the fishing vessel Baranof in a month. 

Just before midnight on Tuesday, District 17 Command Center received a medevac request from the Baranof. The vessel reported that a 45-year-old fishermen was experiencing gastrointestinal bleeding. Watchstanders conferred with a duty flight surgeon and launched three Kodiak-based aircrews to respond to the vessel's position. The Baranof was operating in the Bering Sea about 320 nautical miles northwest of St. Paul - closer to Russia than to Kodiak. 

Weather on scene was favorable, with 17 mph winds and four-foot seas. The patient was safely hoisted just after noon on Wednesday and taken to St. Paul for transfer to a commercial medevac flight company. The private flight took him onwards to Anchorage for treatment. 

Collectively, the three Coast Guard aircrews flew 20 hours, covered about 1,600 nautical miles and refueled three times on the ground to transport the man to further care. 

“Alaska presents a unique set of challenges, one primarily being the remote locations of some of the cases,” said PO1 Christopher Catalioto, the District 17 watchstander who coordinated the initial response. “Long-range medevacs such as this require a lot of coordination and are a team effort."

It was the second time in a month that Coast Guard aircrews out of Kodiak medevaced a patient from the Baranof in the Bering Sea. At 0100 hours June 1, the Baranof called for assistance for an injured 31-year-old fisherman at roughly the same position, about 300 nm northwest of St. Paul. The Coast Guard dispatched two C-130J SAR planes and two MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters out of Kodiak with extra capacity for refueling, aircraft ferrying and comms relays. One of the Jayhawk crews hoisted the patient aboard and brough him to shore. Afterwards, the two helicopters spent the night at Cold Bay before flying back to base at Kodiak, returning home more than 24 hours after the call.