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01 December 2011

Merchant ship crews respond to sailor’s call for assistance off Bermuda


The Argo V, a 36-foot sailboat, is shown alongside the merchant vessel Clipper Daisy 170 miles southwest of Bermuda here, Nov. 24, 2011. Watch standers at the Coast Guard 5th District Command Center, internationally known as Rescue Coordination Center Norfolk, used the Automated Mutual–Assistance Vessel Rescue System to coordinate the rescue of the vessel’s Canadian owner who was reportedly experiencing chest pains. Photo by Clipper Daisy crew member.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Crewmembers aboard two merchant ships responded to the Coast Guard’s call for assistance to medevac a Canadian man reportedly experiencing signs of a heart attack aboard his sailboat 170 miles southwest of Bermuda, Thursday.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard 5th District Command Center, internationally known as Rescue Coordination Center Norfolk, coordinated the rescue using the Automated Mutual–Assistance Vessel Rescue System after receiving notification from Nicole Gaudreault, an amateur radio operator from Montreal.

The wife of the man experiencing the symptoms initially called Gaudreault stating she was a nurse and believed her husband needed to be medevaced. She also said they were aboard the Argo V, a 36-foot sailboat and were en route to St. Martin.

Two AMVER vessel crews responded to the Coast Guard’s enhanced group call.

A crewmember from aboard the merchant vessel Mary Ann Hudson stated they were approximately 120 miles from the Argo V, were willing to divert and the crewmember also said they had heart medication aboard.

The crew of the Clipper Daisy also responded to the call for assistance saying they did not have heart medication but were willing to divert to the Argo V’s position to take the man aboard and transport him to Bermuda.

The wife aboard Argo V altered her course to head toward Bermuda, but was unable to continue because of strong winds and 6-foot seas.

The crew of the Clipper Daisy rendezvoused with the Argo V at approximately midnight Thursday and took the man aboard. The man is currently being transferred to Bermuda then to a local hospital.

“This case is a prime example of the outstanding coordination using various tools in the search and rescue system to include amateur radio operators, AMVER system and Rescue Coordination Center Bermuda,” said Lt. Cmdr. James Klein, chief of the Rescue Coordination Center Norfolk.

- US Coast Guard