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Charles R. Lipcon
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Ricardo V. Alsina is an active trial attorney, handling personal injury, cruise line sexual assault and wrongful death claims. Read More »
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Shetland Coast Guard Evacuates Cruise Ship Passenger Suffering from Serious Illness

In the wake of what seems to be a string of never-ending cruise ship accidents, beginning with the Carnival Triumph cruise ship fire, the high seas have claimed yet another victim.

A pensioner who became ill early Thursday morning had to be airlifted to the closest hospital from a cruise ship sailing near the coast of Shetland, Scotland.

Officials report that around 2:20 AM., the Shetland Coast Guard received a call from the vessel Discovery which is operated by Voyages of Discovery Cruise Line. They reported that an elderly passenger had become seriously ill .

The vessel, registered in Bermuda, was on an itinerary from Bergen, Norway to Avonmouth, England, when the 76-year-old male passenger became sick.

Cruise officials notified the Coast Guard and Rescue 102 flew 90 miles off of Sumburgh to rescue the victim. The emergency team airlifted the elderly passenger and transported him to the Clickimin landing pad, from where he was transported by ambulance to Gilbert Bain Hospital around 4:30 AM.

According to a hospital spokeswoman, the patient is scheduled to be transported to Aberdeen for further treatment.

The rescue was reported just a few days after another cruise ship passenger was airlifted to a nearby hospital for medical treatment by U.S. Coast Guard officers.

Last Thursday, Coast Guard crews from San Diego and Sacramento were called to action to help a sick Holland America Zaandam cruise ship passenger suffering from an undisclosed illness.

The vessel was sailing roughly 200 miles southwest of San Diego when officials say a 71-year-old cruise passenger began experiencing a serious internal medical condition as the Zaandam was heading to Ensenada, Mexico from Hawaii.

While there have been several incidents where a passenger was involved in an emergency situation and crews have failed to act quickly to help the victim, this time, Holland America officials immediately changed the vessel’s course upon receiving word of the medical emergency in order to get closer to the San Diego shore to await the Coast Guard crews.

Both an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter Coast Guard crew from San Diego and a C-130 Hercules airplane Coast Guard crew from Air Station Sacramento helped hoist the cruise passenger into the aircraft and from the ship, transported the victim to Sector San Diego. Emergency medical crews then rushed the woman a local hospital. Her current condition remains unknown.

In a stranger turn of events, another Carnival Corp. vessel, the Carnival Cruise Line Carnival Breeze was also involved in an emergency rescue incident with the U.S. Coast Guard, but instead of requiring the Coast Guard’s assistance, this time, the cruise line was involved in the actual rescue.

The U.S. Coast Guard and Carnival Breeze crews rescued two boaters who had also become seriously ill off the coast of the Florida Keys.

The U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew was called to action to help two boaters who were onboard a 28-foot sailboat named the Gretchen Joy. One of the victims was suffering from a heart condition while the other had become sick due to unfavorable weather conditions, causing large swells in the ocean.

Although the Shetland Coast Guard crew was able to evacuate the sick passenger from the Discovery easily, rescue crews with the Coast Guard Sector Miami experienced difficulty in helping the victims due to the large swells.

Both an MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter crew and 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew were dispatched to the scene of the incident, but once crews arrived and lowered a rescue swimmer into the water near the Gretchen Joy, the officer determined that the conditions were too rough to hoist the boaters from the water and a medevac was necessary.

The Coast Guard also called the Carnival Breeze to action, which was sailing about five miles away from the Gretchen Joy, to assist in the rescue mission. The ship was diverted to the scene in order to provide a more stable platform to safely hoist the sick boaters.

The boater who was suffering with the heart condition was then transported to Ryder Trauma Center, where she was treated and is listed in stable condition. The other victim was treated onboard the Carnival Breeze.

While help was offered in these situations, both cruise passengers and boaters are advised to be careful while out on the high seas. Accidents can happen at any time, leading to serious – if not fatal – injuries. Anyone who has been hurt in a boat or cruise ship accident can turn to a maritime accident attorney for assistance in order to protect their rights.

Of course, the oceans can be a dangerous place and it is not easy, on many occasions, to get rescued. The efforts of the United States Coast Guard in this regard has been nothing short of spectacular. What they do is not easy and can be quite dangerous. When things go wrong at sea, they can really go wrong. The U.S. Coast Guard is highly trained in handling these matters, for which we can all be very proud.

Photo Credits:

Discovery cruise ship – Andre Holland/MarineTraffic.com
Coast Guard airlifts Holland America cruise ship passenger – article.wn.com
Coast Guard and Carnival Breeze help rescue sailboat victims – www.military.com