The Good Samaritans Help Coast Guard Rescue Fishing Boat Captain from “Communications Dead Zone” near Sitka

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A lifeguard swimmer from Sitka Air Force Base loads 68-year-old Lady Cyprus captain on a litter box (Photo courtesy of United States Coast Guard Alaska)

A Coast Guard helicopter crew from Sitka Air Force Base evacuated a man in cardiac distress from a fishing boat in West Crawfish Inlet on August 19.

Sitka watchmen received a call around 1:30 p.m. from F / V Minke. The crew of the Minke said the 68-year-old captain of the another boat, the F / V Lady Cyprus, suffered a possible heart attack.

West Crawfish Inlet is approximately 16 miles south of Sitka. Due to the surrounding terrain, the cove is considered a “communication dead zone” and the crew of the Lady Cyprus could not contact the coast guard themselves.

Lieutenant John Orthman is a Jayhawk pilot for Air Station Sitka. He said the nearby Good Samaritans were an essential part of the rescue.

“It never ceases to amaze me how much everyone cares about each other in Southeast Alaska,” Orthman said. “If the Minke was not able to relay this message, I think the crew probably should have gone to outer waters to join us at that time.”

By the time the helicopter crew arrived at the scene several minutes after the call, a larger fishing vessel, the Beaufort Sea, was transferring the patient to their vessel in preparation for the winch.

According to Orthman, the captain was conscious and alert but needed medical attention.

“We hoisted our lifeguard up to the Beaufort Sea to assess the captain. He packed the patient very quickly, and we picked up both the Lady Cyprus captain and our lifeguard swimmer and brought them back to Sitk, where the EMS was already waiting for us, ”Orthman said.

EMS transferred the patient to the hospital, where he received treatment.


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