The U.S. Coast Guard and Air National Guard completed a four-day, long-range, joint rescue mission to medevac a critically injured 39-year-old man aboard a cargo ship located approximately 1,300 miles west of San Francisco, Friday.
The Hong-Kong-flagged bulk carrier Ocean Applaud contacted 11th Coast Guard District command center watchstanders Monday regarding a crewmember who reportedly fell 30 feet while working on the vessel.
Due to the limited offshore range of Coast Guard aircraft, California Air National Guard 129th Rescue Wing offered to assist.
Coast Guard watchstanders instructed the vessel to make way toward shore and planned to coordinate response once the vessel was within aircraft range.
Upon receiving the mission, the 129th Rescue Wing launched a C-130 aircraft carrying pararescue jumpers just after 2 p.m. Wednesday. The crew arrived near the vessel around 7 p.m. Wednesday and the pararescue jumpers executed a static-line jump into the water. Once they were aboard the Ocean Applaud, they provided emergency medical aid to stabilize the patient.
The C-130 returned to base and the pararescue jumpers remained on the ship to monitor and care for the patient throughout the week. The 129th launched two HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters Friday morning to recover the pararescue jumpers and the patient, who was transferred to awaiting EMS and taken to Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto in stable condition.
“The 129th Rescue Wing, like what we did with the Grand Princess, continues to have a great working relationship with the United States Coast Guard,” said Col. Jeffrey Waldman, wing commander.
The 11th Coast Guard District Command Center, located in Alameda, is responsible for all marine and aviation rescue operations across 3.3 million square nautical miles of water from the California-Oregon border south to near the Galapagos and west to waters half way between California and Hawaii.
“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 California Air National Guard 129th Rescue Wing operates out of Moffett Federal Airfield in Mountain View and performs civilian search and rescue missions at sea and inland areas.