SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — An injured crewman aboard a container ship more than 1,000 miles off the coast of San Francisco is now recovering at a hospital following a daring para-rescue involving the California Air National Guard and Coast Guard.
Members of the Air National Guard 131st Rescue Squadron out of Moffett Field parachuted out of a KC-130 plane Wednesday in order to make their way onto the cargo ship Ocean Applaud and attend to the injured crewman who had fallen some 30 feet while working on the vessel.
The Ocean Applaud had contacted the 11th Coast Guard District Command Center in Alameda for help. The Air National Guard rescue squadron offered to assist after it was determined the cargo ship was beyond the range of Coast Guard aircraft.
The Coast Guard instructed the ship to turn back and coordinated the response with the 131st Rescue Squadron. The para-rescue began about 2 p.m. Wednesday, with the rescue team reaching the vessel at around 7 p.m. and members performing a static-line jump into the water along with a pallet of gear.
After reaching and boarding the Ocean Applaud, they were able to provide emergency aid to the 39-year-old crewman and stabilize him. The C-130 turned around, leaving the para-rescue jumpers on the ship to monitor and care for the patient.
Friday morning, two Air National Guard HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters recovered the para-rescue jumpers and the injured patient, who was transferred to Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto.
“The 129th Rescue Wing, like what we did with the Grand Princess, continues to have a great working relationship with the United States Coast Guard,” said Col. Jeffrey Waldman, wing commander in a statement provided by the rescue wing.
“The response during this multi-day rescue operation highlights the value of strong coordination efforts with our Air National Guard, Navy and maritime industry partners,” said Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Klein, the Coast Guard command center mission controller in a statement. “We greatly appreciate the outstanding support of the Air National Guard whose air crews and para-rescue jumpers conducted the long-range response and medical treatment.”
There was no word on the nature of the crewman’s injuries. He was reported to be in stable condition.