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Coast Guard medevacs fisherman near St. Paul, Alaska (F/V Baranof - Iced out of harbor)

Sts Peter and Paul Russian Orthodox Church, St...
Sts Peter and Paul Russian Orthodox Church, St. Paul Island, Alaska, on Nov. 6, 2010. About 500 people live on the island 775 miles west of Anchorage in the Bering Sea. The Alaska National Guard brought Christmas to the island early Nov. 6 as part of its 54th annual Operation Santa Claus outreach to the state's remote communities. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill) (Released) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Date: Feb. 20, 2013
District 17 Public Affairs Detachment Anchorage


ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew forward deployed to St. Paul Island medevaced a fisherman with circulatory complications from a fishing vessel 60 miles southwest of the island Tuesday.

The 39 year-old fisherman was safely hoisted from the fishing vessel Baranof and flown to St. Paul where he was transferred to local emergency medical services.

The 17th District Command Center received the request to transport the crewman from the 170-foot fishing vessel at 3:10 p.m.  Due to icing conditions in St. Paul Harbor and the Baranof’s inability to enter the harbor, the helicopter medevac was determined to be the safest and quickest means to get the fisherman to needed medical care.

The helicopter crew launch at 5:30 p.m., was on scene with the fishing vessel at 6 p.m. and safely back on St. Paul by 6:34 p.m.

“Having the helicopter crews forward deployed to St. Paul is an essential tool for our quick response in situations such as this,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Robert Luna, a 17th District watchstander.  “While this case may have not been a life threatening situation, having our helicopter crews on St. Paul greatly increases the safety for all mariners in a remote area that is well known for harsh winters.”

Forward deploying aircraft and crews to St. Paul eliminates a six-hour transit from Kodiak plus an hour refueling stop from the time of initial response to any distressed mariners. Winter is the busiest time of year for fishing activity in the Bering Sea during some of the worst weather conditions.

Two MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters and support crews from AIr Station Kodiak were stationed on St. Paul in mid January for the winter fishing season.