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NEWS | Jan. 22, 2020

Coast Guard Medevacs Cruise Ship Mariner from Kiribati to Hawaii

By U.S. Coast Guard District 14 Hawaii Pacific Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew West

HONOLULU, Hawaii -- The Coast Guard successfully medevaced a 46-year-old mariner from Christmas Island to Hawaii, Saturday.

An Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules aircrew transported the crew member to Oahu, where he was brought by ambulance to Queen's Medical Center. While in flight, he was cared for by the Hawaii Healthcare Emergency Management's Disaster Medical Team personnel (Kalawao Rescue).

"Our aircrews often perform medical transportation flights between islands in the Pacific," said Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Bowen, a Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu watchstander. "We have a good relationship with our partners from the Hawaii medical field and often work together to ensure patients in the Pacific reach the level of care they require."

At 6:40 p.m., Friday, JRCC Honolulu watchstanders received a report from the master and ship's doctor of the 594-foot Azamara Journey regarding the situation. The vessel was 149 miles off Christmas Island, and a crew member was suffering from abdominal pain since Monday. His condition deteriorated despite antibiotic treatment.

The ship's doctor and the Coast Guard's duty flight surgeon agreed the crew member required a higher level of medical care than was available on ship as soon as possible.

The Azamara Journey diverted toward Christmas Island while JRCC Honolulu watchstanders deployed the Hercules aircrew to conduct the medevac. Upon the ship's arrival at Christmas Island, the mariner was transported to the awaiting Hercules and flown to Hawaii.

The Malta-flagged cruise ship is on a voyage from Maui, Hawaii, to Bora Bora, French Polynesia.

The Hawaii Healthcare Emergency Management's Disaster Medical Team (Kalawao Rescue) is a deployable, all-hazards disaster medical response and recovery team which is part of the medical surge capability within the HPP or Hospital Preparedness Program. All team members are volunteer medical professionals.

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