A Coast Guard rescue helicopter crew medevaced the crew member of a container ship approximately 40 miles offshore of South Padre Island late Saturday night.
The Coast Guard’s 8th District watchstanders notified the Sector Corpus Christi Command Center at around 6:30 p.m. Saturday, that a 24-year-old foreign male crew member aboard the 892-foot container ship Monte Azul, was experiencing symptoms of appendicitis and requested to be taken off of the ship for treatment.
The ship was originally beyond the range of responding helicopters. The watchstanders at the 8th District watchstanders requested the ship head toward South Padre Island and arranged a rendezvous location 40 miles offshore with the ship’s captain. A Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter and crew were dispatched at 10 p.m. After refueling the helicopter in Brownsville, the aircrew met the Monte Azul and lowered their rescue swimmer to the deck of the ship to stabilize the crew member and hoist him with the rescue basket with the assistance of the tanker’s crew.
“Conducting an offshore hoist is a difficult and potentially risky operation that our crews train for regularly,” said Lt. Tom Mulder, one of the pilots aboard the rescue helicopter. “This operation went as smooth as possible because of the professionalism and teamwork of the crew of the Monte Azul, Coast Guard watchstanders, and my helicopter crew. I am extremely happy we could bring this sailor to safety as quickly as we could and glad that he is receiving the higher level care he needs.”
The crew member is being treated at Valley Regional Medical Center in Brownsville and was reported to be in stable condition.