US Coast Guard helicopter engages in melee combat during harrowing heavy weather Medevac

A dramatic rescue attempt took place over the weekend when a US Coast Guard helicopter battled harsh weather conditions during an emergency medical operation about 300 miles off the coast of Fort Morgan, Alabama. Passengers aboard the cruise ship captured footage of the harrowing incident, which has since been shared online.

The operation came Saturday morning after Coast Guard mobile sentry posts received a distress call from the Coast Guard at 4:31 a.m carnival dream Cruise ship. The crew reported that a 76-year-old passenger was suffering from symptoms similar to a heart attack and required an immediate medical evacuation.

In response, the Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile dispatched an HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft, while the Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans provided an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter to assist in the rescue. The Jayhawk crew arrived at the scene and lowered a lifeguard onto the ship. However, when the crew attempted to heave a nurse off the cruise ship, a sudden gust of wind forced them to retreat.

When the helicopter caught a strong tailwind, the crew had to skilfully recover the aircraft just above the surface of the water. Due to deteriorating weather, both the Jayhawk helicopter and the Ocean Sentry aircraft were forced to return to base.

Video of the incident is below. You can see the helicopter fighting the wind before retreating and losing altitude when the video clips.

A second Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station New Orleans later returned to the scene and successfully lifted the patient and rescued the swimmer before transporting the patient to University Medical Center for emergency care.

Commander Keith Blair, commanding officer of Air Station New Orleans, commended the crew for their professionalism amid the severe and rapidly deteriorating weather. “Through exceptional real-time risk management, crew resource management and excellent piloting, the flight crew was able to safely recover the aircraft and land the air station without further incident,” said Cmdr Blair.

The patient was admitted to the medical center in stable condition.

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