Video: USAF Pararescue Team Completes Ultra-Long-Range Medevac

HH-60 Pave Hawk extracts the pararescue team from Ocean Applaud after the bulker's four-day voyage to get within helicopter range (USAF)

Published Aug 30, 2020 11:17 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Friday, the California Air National Guard completed a four-day, ultra-long-range mission to medevac an injured crewmember from a merchant ship about 1,150 nm west of San Francisco.

The 650-foot bulker Ocean Applaud contacted the Coast Guard's 11th District on Monday about a crewmember who had fallen about 30 feet and sustained serious injuries. At the time of the accident, the Ocean Applaud was far outside the range of the U.S. Coast Guard's rescue helicopters, and the USCG accepted an offer of assistance from the California Air National Guard's 129th Rescue Wing. Coast Guard watchstanders asked the Ocean Applaud to head for the coast and planned to coordinate a response once the vessel was within aircraft range.  

The 129th Rescue Wing launched a C-130 aircraft with a para-rescue jump team just after 1400 hours on Wednesday. The aircraft arrived at the scene at about 1900 hours, and the pararescue jumpers made a static-line jump into the water. Once they were safely aboard the Ocean Applaud, they provided emergency medical aid to stabilize the patient.

129th Rescue Wing responds to overwater rescue

#ICYMI Watch 129th Rescue Wing HC130J Combat King II aircrew and Guardian Angel Pararescue Team respond to an overwater rescue of an injured crewman on board a container ship, 1150 nautical miles off the coast of San Francisco. Go Guard!

Posted by Air National Guard on Friday, August 28, 2020

The team remained on the ship to monitor and care for the patient throughout the week. On Friday morning, the 129th launched two HH-60 helicopters to recover the pararescue jumpers and the patient, who was transferred to emergency medical services and taken to a hospital in Palo Alto in stable condition. 

“The response during this multi-day rescue operation highlights the value of strong coordination efforts with our Air National Guard, Navy and maritime industry partners,” said Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Klein, the Coast Guard command center mission controller. "We greatly appreciate the outstanding support of the Air National Guard whose air crews and pararescue jumpers conducted the long-range response and medical treatment.”

The Ocean Applaud has since arrived safely at her destination port of Stockton, California, delivering a full deck load of wind turbine blades.