Sea, - Ships, - Sailor's Life


The Rescue

Unlike people ashore, where certain groups can declare themselves sick for almost a month every year, it's not very often you see a sailor declare himself sick, - but in rare occasions it can happen.
If it is something serious, - or an accident happens that cannot be handled onboard, it is important to rush to port as fast as possible in order to get professional medical help, but when you are not near a port we have a problem - - - -
However, - if you happen to have US Navy units around you are in good hands.
In TV it's often seen, that the US Navy is on the spot around the World, when disaster strikes being it earthquake, flooding, famine or tsunami, but when a small ship on the ocean needs some help, it is largely ignored by the media because it is too small for the news, - but for a sailor it is great the have the navy around in case of need.

When a sailor on the "Stolt Avance" got ill, - and it looked serious -, it became necessary to have him taken to a hospital as soon as possible, - and luckily enough, the US Navy was there.
A navy helicopter took off to pick him up, - and the following series of pictures is from that incident, which took place back in February 1979.

Such a rescue operation does of course not happen every day, - but occationally you will experience it -, and it is a part of sailor's life.

A US Navy helicopter arrives to "Stolt Avance" -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen ©)

- circling around in order to check out the ship and the surroundings -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen ©)

- in order to find the best possible drop zone on the ship -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen ©)

- a somewhat difficult job on a chemical tanker with very little free deck space -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen ©)

The best place to drop the navy diver that has to pick up a sick person is on the poop deck.
(Photography by Karsten Petersen ©)

But great care has to be taken NOT to hit the accommodation, funnel, masts and the many antennas for communication and navigation.
(Photography by Karsten Petersen ©)

Finally a US Navy diver is hoisted down to the poop deck and wellcomed by the Chief Mate.
(Photography by Karsten Petersen ©)

Here a closer look at what our guardian angel looked like when coming down from the sky.
But he was NOT an angel, - maybe a SEAL????
At least he had an enormous knife strapped to his leg, and surely looked like being able to kick some ass if necessary.
(Photography by Karsten Petersen ©)

Meanwhile the pilot and the helicopter crew above were busy engaged in the operation.
(Photography by Karsten Petersen ©)

The sick man is going to be hoisted onboard the helicopter while strapped to a stretcher -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen ©)

- and here he arrives safely to the helicopter together with the navy diver, - assisted by the helicopter crew.
(Photography by Karsten Petersen ©)

Finally a box with some equipment is taken back onboard the helicopter, - and away it went!  Mission Accomplished!
(Photography by Karsten Petersen ©)

This story had a happy ending:  Our sick crew member got proper treatment in time, - and survived.
Next time a sick sailor had to be evacuated by helicopter from a ship where I served, - he did not make it - - - -
All part of sailor's life - - -

I do not know the name of our "Navy Seal" that came down from the sky, and also I do not know the names of the assisting crew in the helicopter, but on some of the pictures you can see the name of the helicopter pilot, - Lieutenant Wengierski -, and of course a great, - but very delayed -,  "Thank You" goes to him and his skilled crew, as well as to the US Navy that made it all possible!

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Page initiated:  Dec.01.2009