A Honolulu-based Coast Guard crew medically evacuated a 32-year-old man on Sunday from a Norwegian-flagged tanker at Midway Island National Wildlife Refuge.
Working with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Coast Guard picked up a Latvian crewmember experiencing severe pain and numbness in his lower abdomen aboard the 610-foot motor tanker Leikanger, which was transporting gasoline. At the time of the original call Friday night, the vessel was about 667 miles north of Midway, the Coast Guard said.
Due to the high volume of seabirds, particularly albatross, at the atoll, planes must land at night to limit the risk of bird strikes, requiring coordination with the USFWS Midway refuge manager.
The tanker arrived offshore of Midway at 5:50 p.m. Sunday Hawaii time, and got the crewman to shore via a small boat, guided by an USFWS escort boat, to the pier inside the reef.
A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules aircrew from Air Station Barbers Point arrived at Midway just before 11 p.m. Hawaii time, and was able to pick the patient up and transport him safely to Oahu, where he was taken to the Queen’s Medical Center. The Hercules crew arrived back at Barbers Point at 2:45 a.m. Monday.
The Hawaii Disaster Medical Assistance Team provided in-flight medical care en route to Honolulu.
“This case illustrates the value and importance of our partnerships with the refuge and DMAT,” said Lt. Diane French, a command duty officer with Joint Regional Command Center Honolulu, in a news release. “Connecting mariners transiting the vast Pacific with a higher level of medical care is vital to the safety of life at sea and one of our key missions.”