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Coast Guard crews medevac injured fisherman near St. Paul, Alaska (F/V Beauty Bay)

Aerial view of St. Paul Island
Aerial view of St. Paul Island (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Date: March 08, 2013
District 17 Public Affairs Detachment Kodiak

KODIAK, Alaska — A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew, forward deployed to St. Paul Island, medevaced a fisherman who suffered a hand injury from a fishing vessel near the island Friday.

The 27-year-old fisherman was safely hoisted from the fishing vessel Beauty Bay and flown to St. Paul where he was transferred to the St. Paul Clinic and flown off island by Life-Med for further care.

The Coast Guard 17th District Command Center received the request to transport the crewman from the 116-foot fishing vessel at 6:30 a.m. Thursday. The duty flight surgeon was consulted and recommended the medevac to get the fisherman to needed medical care.

Due to foul weather in the region, the helicopter and crew were forced to delay takeoff until conditions improved.

The crew of the Beauty Bay transited toward St. Paul in an effort to shorten the flight time of the helicopter crew’s response and get the crewman to care as soon as possible.

The helicopter crew launched at 8:30 a.m. safely hoisted the patient from the fishing vessel and arrived safely back in St. Paul by 9:21 a.m.

“The unpredictable and often dangerous weather system encountered during the winter fishing season pose challenges for Coast Guardsmen and fishermen alike,” said Lt. Lane Munroe of the Coast Guard 17th District.  “Forward deploying hoist-capable helicopters and crews to isolated regions such as St. Paul play a vital role in getting patients to the advanced medical care.”

Stationing Coast Guard assets and crews in St. Paul eliminates a six-hour flight from Kodiak during busiest and most weather-dynamic fishing seasons.

The weather on scene at the time of the distress call was reportedly 51 mph winds with more than 20-foot seas and a half mile visibility. Weather conditions greatly improved Friday.

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