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Coast Guard Helicopter Rescues Man With Head Injury Off Sailboat Near St. Thomas

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A Coast Guard MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter aircrew and the crew of a 33-foot Special Purpose Craft – Law Enforcement medevaced a passenger from the sailing vessel Orion Monday, approximately 18 miles south of St. Thomas.

Medevaced is a 66-year-old man, U.S. citizen, who sustained a head injury aboard the Orion while transiting from Christiansted, St. Croix to Compass Point in St. Thomas.

The helicopter aircrew then deployed a litter that was received and transferred by the Coast Guard boat crew to the sailing vessel. Due to the active three to five-foot sea state, the aircrew hoisted the patient to the helicopter. The rescue swimmer used a rescue sling to secure the man’s wife and once secured, they were both hoisted from the water safely aboard the aircraft.

The Coast Guard boat crew escorted the sailing vessel Orion to Compass Marina in Saint Thomas, while the Coast Guard helicopter transported the man and his wife to the Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Emergency Medical Service personnel at the airport received and transported to the couple to the Centro Medico Hospital in San Juan, Puerto Rico

By John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.