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Video: USCG Medevacs Fisherman in Heavy Weather off Dutch Harbor

patricia lee
The Patricia Lee, infrared video still (USCG)

Published Oct 21, 2021 11:39 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Tuesday, the U.S. Coast Guard medevaced an injured man from the rolling deck of a crab boat about 200 miles southwest of Dutch Harbor, Alaska.

Watchstanders at the 17th District command center in Juneau received a call for a medevac from the fishing vessel Patricia Lee at about 1600 hours on Tuesday. The master reported that a crew member had been pinned by a crab pot and had serious injuries to his pelvis.

The command center called for the launch of a helicopter crew based out of Cold Bay, and the Patricia Lee made way towards Dutch Harbor to close the distance. A Coast Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft crew and an additional MH-60 Jayhawk aircraft crew were launched from Air Station Kodiak to provide backup.

 

 

Defying unfavorable weather conditions - including 35-knot winds, 14-foot seas and rain, snow and sleet - a Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Kodiak hoisted the injured fisherman from the deck of the Patricia Lee just before midnight. He was flown to Dutch Harbor and placed in the care of LifeMed personnel.

"Thanks to the cooperation among air crew members, the command center team and the crew aboard Patricia Lee, our Kodiak team was able to hoist and deliver this young individual to a higher level of care," said Lt. Robert McConnel, Air Station Kodiak operations duty officer. "Our crews routinely train for the treacherous Alaska night conditions they encountered yesterday. It feels good to see our team execute when someone's life is on the line."

The Patricia Lee's last medevac request was in 2018, when a crewmember was struck in the head by a crab pot while the vessel was working about 190 miles west of Dutch Harbor. At the time, no Coast Guard aviation assets were based nearby, so two helicopter aircrews had to fly 17 hours and 1,200 miles from Air Station Kodiak to reach the vessel.