Monday, July 13, 2009

US Coast Guard Rescue!

Ruth and I had awoken early and gone up to the main breakfast area before the masses arrived. It was barely 7am when we could hear the loud sound of a helicopter. Just as we finished breakfast, an announcement came over the ship radio from the Captain, indicating that there was a critically ill person on board who needed to be evacuated as soon as possible. The Captain informed the passengers that there was nothing to be alarmed about, however a US Coast Guard helicopter would be arriving shortly and undergoing the transfer of the patient from the ship to the helicopter. We would all need to stay a certain distance away from the tip of the boat, as that would be where the transfer would occur. Like paparazzi to a celebrity, I raced up to the top deck with my camera. Much of the boat’s passengers were still sound asleep, but those who were awake all came up to the deck to watch – and boy, did we get a performance!

Well, what can I say – other than that what we witnessed was an amazing operation by a very skillful US Coast Guard. I later spoke with some US passengers who were familiar with the kind of training that the US Coast Guard need to do in order to pull off such a stunt, and believe me, these guys were unbelievable. Despite the wind howling, the helicopter was kept as still as possible as they lowered the basket to collect the person. The helicopter was so close to the deck of the ship that it was little wonder that it did not hit it – but that helicopter was under such control and everything was done with such precision, that the onlookers could not help but cheer and clap as they completed the exercise.

Enjoy the photos!

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