Coast Guard reports busy Friday with twin Southeast medevacs

Coast Guard Air Station Sitka reported a busy morning with a pair of medevacs from unrelated medical emergencies in Southeast Alaska.

According to Coast Guard District 17 public affairs, the crew of the tugboat Justine Foss, 62 miles south of Yakutat, reported a crewmember on board had suffered a possible detached retina.

When an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter launched from Sitka, a second distress call came in, this time from the pleasure boat Alaska Song, which reported the vessel’s master had suffered a heart attack in Baranof Island’s Takatz Bay.

The helicopter was diverted to the Alaska Song, and a second helicopter was launched to the tugboat.

Above the Alaska Song, heavy clouds kept the helicopter from lifting the stricken man until a good Samaritan boat took the man aboard and sailed him to Chatham Strait, where conditions were better.

The medevac from the Justine Foss was conducted without incident.

“Maritime emergencies are not predictable; we know that accidents and injuries can happen at any time. Our aircrews and ground support personnel take pride in being ready to respond at a moment’s notice and we train to handle these difficult scenarios” said Cmdr. Mo Murphy, operations officer at Air Station Sitka, in a prepared statement. “With the outstanding help from the crews of the Sea Lion and Justine Foss, we were able to quickly transport these men to medical care.”

• Contact reporter James Brooks at or call 523-2258.

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