POSTED: 3:14 p.m. HST, Jul 23, 2010
A Navy warship participating in the Rim of the Pacific war games was diverted from the exercise Tuesday to rescue a sick man on a civilian boat.
The USS McCluskey, a 453-foot-long guided-missile frigate, was dispatched to help the 50-year-old mariner after receiving a call from the Coast Guard about 9:35 a.m., said Agnes Tauyan, Navy Region Hawaii spokeswoman.
The Marshall Islands man had been vomiting blood aboard the vessel Great Bridge, a large utility landing craft, which was about 400 miles from Barber’s Point, Tauyan said.
While the Coast Guard received a call, the Navy responded because it’s vessel was closer, a Coast Guard spokeswoman said.
An SH-60 Seahawk helicopter from the USS McCluskey picked up the man, who was taken to the Queen’s Medical Center. Tauyan didn’t know if the Navy ship traveled closer to Oahu or if the helicopter “lily padded” by refueling on ships along the way to bring the man to Honolulu.
Home-ported in San Diego, the USS McCluskey is in Hawaii for RIMPAC, a biennial exercise to strengthen regional partnerships. Tauyan said the Navy ship was taken “out of pocket” for most of Tuesday to help with the rescue.