A 23-year-old woman was rescued from a sailboat west of Bodega Bay at around 2:15 a.m. Tuesday, after she had accidentally swallowed antifreeze the previous afternoon.
US Coast Guard and San Francisco Fire Department personnel worked together in what USCG’s 11th District search mission coordinator, Douglas Samp, described as “… a highly complex medical evacuation performed at night, off a small sailboat, hundreds of miles offshore that tested the limits of our crews and equipment.”
The rescue operation played out as per the following Coast Guard report:
“Due to the distance off shore and range limitations of Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco’s MH-65 Dolphin helicopters, watchstanders directed the forward deployment of a Coast Guard Sector San Diego MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew to Air Station San Francisco. Additionally, the Coast Guard Cutter Midgett (WMSL 757) was diverted to serve as a refueling platform for the Jayhawk helicopter.
“The Sector San Diego Jayhawk helicopter arrived at Air Station San Francisco at approximately 9 p.m. Monday. The helicopter was refueled, crews were changed and a San Francisco Fire Department paramedic boarded before departing on the medevac mission.
“A Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento C-27 Spartan aircrew launched around 9:55 p.m. Monday to provide cover for the Jayhawk crew throughout the mission and rendezvoused with the Jayhawk before both crews headed offshore.
“The Jayhawk crew landed on the Midgett to refuel approximately 230 miles west of San Francisco around 11:45 p.m. and then proceeded toward the Cibola.
“The Jayhawk crew arrived on scene with the Cibola around 2:15 a.m. Tuesday and lowered the rescue swimmer to assess the situation.
“The rescue swimmer assisted in hoisting the woman into the helicopter and once the rescue swimmer was retrieved, the helicopter crew headed back to the Midgett.”
The following video was provided courtesy of US Coast Guard District 11.
“The San Francisco Fire Department paramedic’s assistance was vital to saving the sailor’s life as he assisted the Coast Guard rescue swimmer to stabilize and care for her during the four-hour transit back to San Francisco,” Samp said. “The sailor’s life was saved by the dedicated teamwork of the San Francisco Fire Department and Coast Guard personnel across eight different units.”
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the unnamed woman and her father were approximately 380 miles off Bodega Bay, several days into a voyage from Astoria, Oregon, to Hawaii, when the rescue took place.