Meticulous sea, land and air coordination off the coast of Ireland has saved a severely injured seafarer at sea. On December 09, a Burmese seafarer suffered spinal, cranial injuries as he fell 12 metres into the hold of the 28,000-tonne ‘Anna Rickmers’ vessel. The accident happened in the evening, while the vessel was 600 miles off Cork, west of Ireland. The seafarer needed immediate hospitalization.
Meanwhile, a doctor from Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth was in contact with the ship’s crew to advise on how to stabilise the injured seafarer. The rescue mission was risky because of the long distance involved. Long distance air-refuelable helicopters were needed to reach the vessel at sea. Hence the Royal Air Force Kinloss, Moray, Scotland and UK-based U.S. Air Force units with highly-trained para rescuemen (or PJs) carried out joint rescue operation.
The rescue operation involved:
- Nimrod aircraft of RAF Kinloss for maritime reconnaissance, communication, coordination.
- Two long-range U.S Air Force HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters from the US airbase at Lakenheath in Suffolk for rescue.
- MC-130P Combat Shadow aerial refueler aircraft to refuel HH-60G and Air Refueling Squadron tanker from RAF Mildenhall to refuel the MC-130P.
The seafarer was airlifted successfully in the darkness around 2030 hours on December 10. Two hours later, the helos landed in Shannon, Ireland and from there the injured seafarer was taken to Midwestern Regional Hospital in Limerick. Now the injured seafarer is in a serious but stable condition.
Here is a photograph of HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter preparing for aerial refueling from an Air Force MC-130P Combat Shadow. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Justin D. Pyle)
Details about the vessel ‘Anna Rickmers’ are at Rickmers Group.
Post in MarineBuzz on this day a year before:
Update: December 13
Read more from Maritime and Coast Guard Agency press release.
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