By Petty Officer 3rd Class Melissa McKenzie
HONOLULU – A Coast Guard aircrew flew approximately 1,036 miles to airdrop blood and medical supplies to a cruise ship northeast of the Hawaiian Islands Sunday.
Personnel aboard the cruise ship Oosterdam contacted watchstanders at Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu at approximately 4 a.m. requesting medical assistance for an ailing passenger. The ship’s onboard doctor was treating the 70-year-old man for internal bleeding. A Coast Guard flight surgeon was consulted and recommended an airdrop of blood, platelets and transfusion equipment.
At approximately 11:30 a.m., a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules aircrew from Air Station Barbers Point successfully dropped six units of blood, one pack of platelets and two transfusion kits received from Tripler Army Medical Center and the Blood Bank of Hawaii via parachute to medical personnel aboard the Oosterdam.
The cruise ship will maintain communication with the Coast Guard until it arrives in Lahaina, Maui, Tuesday.
Coast Guard aircraft are equipped to drop lifesaving equipment to individuals in distress. Life rafts, radios, emergency rations and medical supplies are the most common, but flexibility in operations is necessary in order to save lives at sea