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Emergency at Sea

06/15/2010, 6:36 PM by Lollie Garay
SAR Helicopter<br/><br/>Credit: Karie Sines
SAR Helicopter
Photo Credit: Karie Sines

June 15

Lat/Long: 11.15N 056.04W

Air Temp: 28.5C 83.3F

Surface Temp: 29.27C 85.51F

Salinity: 31.44psu


Some days the reality of life hits you right in the face, reminding you that things happen. Today was one of those days. Working alongside the scientists and crew of this ship and others, I have learned a lot about the science, the process and the technology that are part of oceanographic research. I’ve also learned how dangerous it can be. We all take risks just getting out of bed everyday - but some work, by its nature can be inherently more challenging.


Today we had a medical emergency that required an evacuation by helicopter. The injury (which was not life-threatening) occurred about 1AM during a CTD cast, and set into motion an international mobilization effort. By 3 AM we were heading back towards Barbados to meet a helicopter. Because we were under French jurisdiction when the accident occurred, French Search and Rescue (SAR) performed the rescue efforts.


The mood was both poignant and thrilling as the crew and science team watched from the upper deck as one of our own was skillfully lifted into a hovering helicopter whilst the ship was under full steam! We’ve probably all seen something like this on the news or on television, but it certainly takes your breath away when you’re watching it first hand! The helicopter will return to Barbados to meet a waiting SAR plane bound for a hospital in Martinique.


I’d also like to acknowledge the crew of the RV Knorr for the exceptional job they did during the unfolding of this emergency. Their skill and professionalism is evident as demonstrated today! Its good to know that there are procedures in place that work like they're supposed to!


At this writing, I’m happy to say that the patient is doing well, and hopefully heading home soon! Take care buddy- we wish you a speedy recovery!



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Question of the Day

  • Do the bacteria in the water make us sick?

    Only a few of them.  Bacteria are in every habitat on Earth, growing in soil, hot springs, radioactive waste, water, as well as in organic matter and the live bodies of plants and animals. Bacteria recycle nutrients, with many steps in nutrient cycles depending on these organisms, such as nitrogen fixation.