A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk hovers over Juneau harbor. A similar aircraft was involved in a medevac from a vessel at sea of a passenger with a medical condition on June 21, 2022. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire File)

A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk hovers over Juneau harbor. A similar aircraft was involved in a medevac from a vessel at sea of a passenger with a medical condition on June 21, 2022. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire File)

Coast Guard medevacs cruise ship passenger at sea

The man was stable and in good spirits when he was transferred to civilian EMS.

A Coast Guard Air Station Sitka aircrew flying an MH-60 Jayhawk medevaced a passenger from the cruise ship Celebrity Eclipse early Tuesday morning near the Dixon Entrance.

The passenger, a 67-year-old man, was stable and in good spirits when he was transferred to local medical personnel in Sitka, according to the Coast Guard.

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“We received the call at approximately 8:30 p.m. Monday,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Nate Littlejohn, a Coast Guard public affairs specialist. “The Coast Guard duty flight surgeon was in conversations with the ship’s master and medical personnel about the patient’s condition and determined that placing him in an elevated level of care was the best thing to do, despite the risks associated with hoisting a patient from a cruise ship.”

With that decision made, the MH-60 aircrew sortied from Sitka, hoisting the man from the vessel at roughly 1:30 a.m., according to the Coast Guard.

“On scene conditions at the time of the hoist were winds at about 10 mph, and seas at 1-3 feet,” Littlejohn said. “Limited visibility due to darkness was the most challenging aspect of the transit and the hoist, according to the pilots.”

The man was in stable condition when he was transferred to Sitka EMS, Littlejohn said, and made jokes during the medevac about his vacation being cut short. This medevac adds to a busy summer for the Coast Guard aircrews, Littlejohn said, with more cruise ship medevacs this summer than the last three years, a statistic that can be attributed to the resumption of cruise ship traffic.

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at (757) 621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

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