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Coast Guard Plucks Patient from Cruise Ship

Surprisingly, an Oasis-Class Ship Doesn't Host a Landing Pad

The US Coast Guard deployed one of their MH-60T Jayhawk helicopters to pluck a stroke patient from the Royal Caribbean International ship Symphony of the Seas, bringing the 57-year-old to medical services ashore.

The operation went nice and slick, thanks to a daytime flight in calm seas, but acts as a useful reminder of the wide gamut of services provided by the USCG. The Oasis-class cruise ship radioed ahead to request a medical evacuation, citing a US citizen with stroke symptoms aboard. For ischemic attacks, time is invaluable when minimizing long-term symptoms, but despite its size, the Symphony of the Seas isn't equipped with the necessary clot-busting pharmacopeia. The only solution is rapid transport to better-equipped services ashore, and the Jayhawk crews are always happy to oblige (because it beats sitting in quarters waiting for a call, most likely).

Watchstanders in 'Sector San Juan' triangulated the ship at 116 nm off Cabo Rojo of Puerto Rico, and launched a Jayhawk from Borinquen to rendezvous. Surprisingly, there doesn't seem to be a spot to alight on the nearly 1,200-foot long ship, so the crews had to rappel a rescuer down and use a litter to hoist the patient on up.

“It was a great team effort on all fronts,” Cmdr. Raymond Jamros, MH-60T Jayhawk aircraft commander for the case. “We appreciate the coordination between the air station, sector and Royal Caribbean. The effective coordination and communication allowed us to get on scene in a timely matter and transport the patient to higher medical care.” 



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