NEWS | Nov. 14, 2017

Coast Guard Conducts Long-range Medevac for Citizen of Ecuador from Remote Pacific

By Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle and Chief Petty Officer Sara Muir U.S. Coast Guard District 14 Hawaii Pacific  

HONOLULU, Hawaii -- A 39-year-old citizen of Ecuador arrived in stable condition to Queen's Medical Center, Friday, after being medically evacuated 1,353 miles from Kiribati to Hawaii by the Coast Guard.

Miguel Alberto Devena was safely transported aboard a Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules fixed wing airplane on a four-hour flight to the air station where local emergency services personnel were waiting to transfer him to Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu.

"With the largest area of responsibility in the Coast Guard, we rely heavily on our air station crews when conducting medical evacuations or search and rescue missions throughout the Pacific," said Chief Petty Officer Casey Robert, a command duty officer at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu. "This case illustrates the importance of the worldwide rescue coordination center network by quickly and effectively getting mariners to a higher level of medical care."

Watchstanders at the Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC) Honolulu received a request from Rescue Coordination Center (RCC) Madrid in Spain for assistance regarding a man who experienced severe trauma to his leg while working aboard the 256-foot Ecuadorian flagged fishing vessel, San Andres.

JRCC contacted the duty flight surgeon who recommended a medevac via Coast Guard aircraft. It was also recommended a Spanish interpreter, a health services technician and members of the Hawaii Disaster Medical Assistance Team accompany the crew to provide in-flight care.

The San Andres was initially located 247 miles southeast of Kiribati on the high seas when they contacted RCC Madrid. The Spanish master of the vessel transited to Kiribati to await the Coast Guard crew, before resuming fishing for tuna.

JRCC Honolulu is located at the Coast Guard 14th District and has responsibility for search and rescue across 12.2 million square miles of the Pacific Ocean to include the main Hawaiian Islands, Guam, Saipan and American Samoa extending out in all directions.

The Coast Guard is the world's premier maritime search and rescue agency ready to answer the call for help, even in the vast and remote regions of the Pacific Ocean. According to the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation as of November 2017, the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, home to the "tuna belt," provides about 53 percent of the global tuna supply, worth billions.